Edge computing can be best defined through Gartner’s definition – “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge – where things and people produce or consume that information.” Essentially, you can think of edge computing as computing/information processing that occurs at or near the data source, rather than through the cloud and data center.
Traditional IT infrastructure is very centralized. All data processing and storage is performed on a small number of collocated machines. While the cloud has had some impact on decentralizing IT, edge computing takes it even further.
In edge computing, data is processed near the network “edge” or near the source of the data. This is helpful because it reduces latency for applications that offload their data processing to servers. For example, Internet of Things (IoT) devices may have preliminary data processing performed at the edge before data may be forwarded to a data center or cloud server for additional analysis. This initial processing can be used to determine where the data should be sent or if additional processing is needed at all.
The primary use case for edge computing is to address the processing needs of a growing number of IoT devices. In recent years, the expansion of the IoT has resulted in the production of massive amounts of data by these devices. 5G networks provide higher data speeds and support denser concentrations of devices than earlier mobile networks. This will spur deployment of IoT devices, further increasing the volume of data created.
Edge computing helps to manage the impact and performance of these new IoT devices. Data processing at the network edge reduces the time to process IoT data and decreases the utilization of cloud networking and processing resources.
Moving data processing to the network edge rather than centralizing it at cloud-based or on-prem servers has a number of impacts on privacy and security, such as:
Edge computing can provide a number of benefits to an organization. With the growth of IoT technology, the ability to make rapid decisions at the network edge – rather than relying solely on centralized servers – can dramatically improve the performance and productivity of the devices and the workforce that relies upon them.
While edge computing introduces new security and privacy challenges, it creates potential opportunities as well. By deploying security functionality at the network edge, an organization can achieve significant security benefits, such as:
Check Point offers edge security solutions for IoT, including security for the IoT device. To learn more about IoT device security, check out this whitepaper. You’re also welcome to request a demo of IoT device security to see its capabilities for yourself. Also, get a free IoT device firmware assessment.