The Definitive Guide to Edge Cybersecurity
Understanding the Edge
What exactly do we mean by edge cybersecurity?
Edge cybersecurity is the protection of edge networks and devices that are decentralized from the data center, where data is more vulnerable to cyber threats.
This is where the concept of edge computing is born – by providing real-time data processing and analysis at the edge of your network, closer to where the data is generated.
However, like most technological advances that make their way into how we do business, this presents a new challenge for cybersecurity – as more and more entry points are introduced into the network.
In this definitive guide to edge cybersecurity, we will explore what edge cybersecurity is, why it’s important, and the key considerations and best practices for implementing effective edge cybersecurity measures.
So, whether you’re a business owner, IT professional, or just curious about the latest cybersecurity, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical solutions for securing your network at the perimeter.
The Need for Edge Cybersecurity
The proliferation of connected devices, the rise in edge computing, and the cultural shift to remote work have all contributed to the increased need for edge cybersecurity.
Edge devices, such as sensors, smart cameras, and other IoT devices, are often deployed in remote locations, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Edge computing allows for real-time data processing and analysis, but it also means that more sensitive data is being stored and processed at the edge of an organization’s network that’s potentially less protected.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant shift to remote working – sped up significantly by the pandemic.
This means that more employees are accessing company networks and data from their personal devices and outside of the traditional office environment. This introduces a new security challenge and makes it more difficult to maintain consistent security controls across the various networks and devices being utilized.
With a large adoption of cloud services and the use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, more and more traffic is being sent directly to the internet from the edge of the network. This means that a lot of data is bypassing traditional security controls, increasing the risk of cyber attacks.
Given the changes in how we do business over the years, the need for edge cybersecurity has never been more critical. Having robust security measures in place to protect your edge devices, data, and networks has never been so important.
Key Considerations and Best Practices for Edge Cybersecurity
Implementing an effective edge cybersecurity program requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the unique challenges of securing edge devices and networks.
Here are 7 key considerations and best practices to keep in mind when improving your edge cybersecurity.
1. Risk Assessment
The first and most important thing to consider when implementing any form of security policy is to carry out a thorough risk assessment.
Risk assessments are used to identify the potential risks and vulnerabilities at the edge network. This includes identifying the types of data being processed and stored at the edge, the types of devices being used, and the potential entry points for cybercriminals.
2. Device Security
Edge cybersecurity revolves heavily around devices at the edge of the network transmitting valuable company information. Meaning it’s imperative that all devices are secure. This can be achieved by implementing strong authentication mechanisms, secure firmware updates, and continuous monitoring of device activity.
It is also important to limit access to devices and ensure that only authorized personnel have the ability to configure or update them.
Zero trust is used by companies to improve their edge device security. It is a policy that revolves around the principle to:
“Never trust, always verify – every request from every user, in or outside the organization must be authenticated, authorized, and encrypted in real-time”
Implementing Zero Trust alongside your edge cybersecurity efforts means that all users are required to authenticate their identity before access to the organization’s system is granted – regardless of the device they’re using or network they are on.
Get in touch today and find out how we can improve your cybersecurity.
3. Network Security
Ensuring that the network being used to access company information is secure is a critical consideration when focusing on edge cybersecurity.
What exactly do we mean by edge network?
Well, whenever an employee accesses any form of company information – whether it be company emails, company cloud storage, or remotely accesses the network from outside the office – the network that they use to do this is the edge network.
Protecting the edge network can be achieved by implementing firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and secure connectivity protocols such as VPNs. This helps prevent unauthorized access to the network and protects against potential cyber-attacks.
4. Data Security
Protection of sensitive data is nothing new in the world of cybersecurity and definitely not specific to edge cybersecurity. However, it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked when looking to improve your edge security efforts.
Protecting sensitive data can be achieved by implementing strong encryption mechanisms, access controls, and data loss prevention measures. It is important to ensure that data is only accessed and processed by authorized personnel and that data is not stored or transmitted in an unsecured manner.
5. Cloud Security
As mentioned earlier, the adoption of cloud services and SaaS applications over the years has become increasingly popular. It’s essential to consider these elements when looking to improve your edge security.
Cloud activity should be monitored and measures put in place to prevent unauthorized access to cloud services.
6. Employee Education
Again, similar to data security, employee education is critical for any security measures and all business divisions.
For edge security in particular, employees need to be educated on the importance of edge cybersecurity with supplemented training on best practices for securing edge devices and networks.
By successfully educating employees, they will be aware of the risks of using personal devices for work-related activities and the best way to secure remote access when outside of the office.
For more on employee training, check out our article on employee cybersecurity training.
7. Regular Monitoring
When implementing edge cybersecurity, it’s no one-time job. It’s important to ensure that the network is regularly monitored for any suspicious activity or breaches.
This can be achieved through the use of security information and event management (SIEM) systems that collect and analyze network logs and events. You could also implement intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) that can identify and block malicious traffic in real time.
Over the years, artificial intelligence has of course made its way into cybersecurity. Machine learning models have the capability of modeling what is considered normal behavior, allowing for any suspicious, irregular activity on the network to be detected, assigned a threat level, and flagged to IT teams in real time. For more information, check out our article on artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.
Along with monitoring network activity, it’s important to ensure all security policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain effective in mitigating current and emerging threats.
This includes regular testing and assessing the security of the network through penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. This can be achieved by making use of a specialized red team of ethical hackers that attempt to breach your network (with permission) with the objective of locating any potential weaknesses that could leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks.
By taking a comprehensive approach to edge cybersecurity and implementing these key considerations and best practices, you can better protect your edge devices, data, and network from cyber threats.
Get in touch to arrange a free consultation with one of our experts today.