December 7, 2015

Security: What the fog?

fog computing

Cloud computing, responsible for enabling a dramatic growth in internet-connected services over the last 15 years, is entering a new phase. ‘Fog computing’ – a vision first properly outlined by Cisco in 2014, aims to extend the benefits of the cloud directly to your smart-doorstep.

The overall concept of ‘#fog-computing’ is based on deploying enterprise-level applications and services traditionally reserved for backend infrastructure, directly to the gateway or router at the network edge. Fog-deployed applications can provide localised real-time data aggregation, analytics, and security services, for devices and sensors connected to the gateway, thus greatly reducing the overheads involved with sending all data to the cloud for processing.

The ‘Internet of Things’ is suffering from a massive “chicken and egg” problem. The demand for low-powered devices vs. ever increasing security requirements and (one day, we’re hoping) standardised encryption policies. Endpoint sensors and nodes are becoming ridiculously small (no, seriously), but securing the data being emitted by these devices is arguably more important today than it ever has been.

But where the hardware is not powerful enough to run a full client encryption and authentication stack, securing the data stream as close to the point of creation as possible, is absolutely critical. Thankfully, this is exactly the kind of problem that fog-computing was designed to solve, as Cisco’s Tao Zhang writes in a blog post:

“Fog will provide innovative ways to reduce the security complexity and costs on individual devices and compensate the devices’ constrained security capabilities with off-board security services. As a result, as in the car example, security upgrades will be possible and effective. And, via fog, concerns about scalability and trustworthiness will be addressed.”

See, you can have your smart cake and eat it too. Continue to reap all of the financial benefits from choosing cost-effective, low-powered sensor devices, and let the edge-network deployed gateway take care of securing the relevant sensitive data streams, without any expensive changes to sensor hardware or software.

Device Authority offers a fog-ready, widely-scalable security solution for authenticating devices and encrypting IoT data streams end-to-end, with platform support for existing router and gateway offerings.

And for endpoint devices with a little more horsepower? Well, we have a solution for those too! Get in touch for more info.

James Penney