Introducing Hardware Enabled Edge of Network Solutions

By Philip Bliss | Jul 03, 2018 | Expert Opinion

A major emerging trend on the edge of the network is that processor manufacturers are putting physically embedded solutions on their processors.

With increasingly sophisticated technologies on the horizon, from self-driving cars to home automation and industrial internet of things sensors, computing has to move to the edge. What this means is that instead of sending data to the cloud for processing, it will be done right on the device itself to minimize latency and increase security. For example, Intel with its SGX technology is bringing more secure solutions onboard its processors. Its vPro processor and soon its Xeon processor will now bring silicon hardened embedded solutions to devices and data center systems.

A recent example of this is embedded FileFlex software from Qnext Corp., with its hardened silicon-to-silicon remote access, sharing and collaboration application using Intel® Software Guard Extensions (SGX) technology on the vPro and upcoming Xeon processors. This now brings a new security benchmark to content sharing and collaboration by staying at the edge of the network – no cloud needed!

For the first time, this brings a silicon-to-silicon solution for file sharing and remote access.

FileFlex is a secure, file sharing solution that allows users to access, share, stream and collaborate data with each other without using a centralized repository, which differentiates the FileFlex Enterprise application from other content collaboration platforms, enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) and cloud services because communications are secured at the hardware level with Intel® SGX and files are accessed from existing storage. Files stay in their source locations where they are originally stored, behind the firewall. Files are not copied or duplicated to secondary locations or third-party servers – no cloud is needed. Finally, unlike the cloud, users can now remotely access all of their storage – not just a subset.

And when the FileFlex software is combined with Intel vPro and Xeon processors it provides silicon-hardened, encrypted hybrid point-to-point communication with no duplication, no third parties, and all files are kept in source locations behind the firewall. This brings superior privacy and security and a significantly reduced threat surface along with a simplified storage structure and governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) that is under the users control. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and The Cloud Act compliancy is maintained, and data snooping is negated. When you add sharing that is restricted to permitted contacts only, two-factor authentication, real-time activity logging, active directory integration and operation and incident management, you have a solution that offers confidentiality, integrity and availability capabilities (CIA) with minimal impact on existing processes and infrastructure.

This is a perfect example of how edge computing combining processor power and security is providing hardened crypto-functionality at the edge of the network – in this case using Intel® SGX at the endpoint, ensuring that the keys remain protected both at rest and in use. Intel® SGX technology uses secure enclaves to provide added protections within the silicon itself against shared data being snooped or tampered with at any stage of access or transmission.

The Edge Trend

This integration between application and hardware is a perfect example of how processors with embedded applications will start to play a significant role as edge computing takes its place as a high speed, secure alternative to existing cloud solutions. Expect to see data centers with servers that have more embedded applications that are hardened at the chip-level, to provide an unmatched level of security and performance – an imperative for content sharing and collaboration and the overall internet of things

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