The emergence of a massive remote workforce is a boon for edge computing and also a warning that security strategies must change, says ECA founder Phil Bliss.

He talked about these and other issues during a recent episode of the Peggy Smedley Show entitled Edge: A Better Tomorrow.

With an objective to keep listeners informed, entertained, and educated, the show is ranked as the number one IoT and digital transformation podcast and averages 115,000 listeners.

Asked what it will take to create a “better tomorrow,” Bliss responded by saying edge computing is a technology that had to emerge and like most new initiatives took time to build.

But it is growing quickly, he added, citing findings from Meticulous Research that revealed the market will be worth upwards of US$28 billion by 2027.

According to the report, which was released late last year, “substantial growth in the global edge computing market is mainly attributed to the growing load on the cloud infrastructure and rising adoption of industrial IoT.

“Consequently, the rising demand for low-latency processing and real-time automated decision-making solutions are propelling the market growth. Emergence of autonomous vehicles and connected car infrastructure are also supporting the growth in the edge computing market and thus, creating high growth opportunities for vendors in this market.”

Much of the discussion with Smedley revolved around the changing work environment and as a result, why a security model known as Zero Trust is and will be paramount.

Work, said Bliss has changed forever, which means remote working and the need for increased performance at the edge is here to stay.

“In this new world, edge technologies be that hardware, be that software, be that firmware have made remote working a possibility,” he added.

Bliss said that from “smartphones to smart traffic lights, edge computing is already embedded in our everyday lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. By 2022 – just next year - Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of a data centre or cloud, and IDC forecasts that 45% of IoT-generated data will be stored, processed, and utilized close to or at the edge.”

It has also accentuated the need to transition from a VPN environment to a Zero Trust architecture, described by Swiss cybersecurity and IoT firm WISeKey International Holding Ltd. as “security centered on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its security perimeters and instead must digitally verify anything and everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access.

“Because of the current COVID situation, many companies and organizations are quickly adapting to the new reality where professional interactions with customers and among employees are conducted electronically.

“These organizations are following Zero Trust networking principles allowing them to address the security requirements driven by the rapid digital transformation and expansion of their remote workforce.  Companies are now required to act quickly in order to mitigate the cybersecurity risks created by the sudden shift to remote work caused by the pandemic.”

Citrix Systems Inc.  meanwhile stated recently that there is a “better way to provide users with access to internal applications that do not rely on VPN servers or open firewall ports. It’s part of being compliant with the Zero Trust framework.

“Zero Trust is achieved by implementing a framework or a collection of products with principles built in and integrated into a collective approach to achieve business outcomes. For this specific problem, VPN-less access to internal applications is the right approach.

“A connector software is deployed on-premises, acting as a bridge between enterprise web apps and globally distributed cloud-service points. No inbound connections are ever used to access internal applications. All connectivity is outbound from the datacenter to the users, without even a firewall port opening.”

According to Bliss, nobody gains admission to the network or devices until all security criteria have been met: “In essence, it cuts off all access until the network knows who you are. Given the scale of future networks, it will be mandatory to use Zero Trust as it is the best way to stop or minimize unauthorized breaches.”

Paul Barker