Internet of Things (IoT) devices with limited compute and storage capacity benefit from an edge computing model where these compute and storage resources are distributed closer to the edge and the IoT devices. Here we discuss the role of IoT Edge in an IoT architecture that uses an edge computing model and how to secure this IoT architecture.
Just as edge computing aims to bring resources and data storage closer to the sources themselves in order to improve response time, latency, and other issues, IoT Edge aims to achieve similar goals. IoT devices inherently encompass a significant amount of data that can interrupt user experience and security. IoT Edge computing processes its data closer to the origin source to reduce any friction or latency within the cloud.
Edge devices are computing systems deployed near the location of the user or device that uses them. This geographic proximity minimizes the network latency between the edge device and its user, enabling it to provide faster and more reliable services.
IoT edge devices are intended to provide additional computing power for resource-constrained IoT devices. IoT devices can collect and transmit data to IoT edge systems and rapidly receive results without needing to perform calculations themselves. Essentially,
The differences between IoT and IoT edge depend on the capabilities of the IoT device. IoT devices are physical systems that collect data for processing. Edge devices are the devices that perform that processing.
Often, IoT devices are resource-constrained, meaning that they lack the computational resources required to process their own data. In these cases, they may send data to an edge device for processing, creating a clear distinction between IoT and edge. If that edge device is close enough to the IoT device and has enough computational power, it may be able to process data and make decisions quickly enough to be considered part of the IoT edge.
In the event that an IoT device can perform all necessary data processing on-device, then an edge device is unnecessary. In this case, the terms IoT device, IoT edge, and edge device may be used interchangeably to refer to the same device.
IoT devices need to be able to quickly process and make decisions based on the data that they collect. If these devices lack the processing power to do so on-device, they require access to low-latency, reliable data processing.
IoT edge devices can meet these requirements because of their geographical proximity to the IoT devices that they serve. With an IoT edge, companies can deploy latency-sensitive applications on IoT devices, and IoT systems can rapidly react to and mitigate issues without the need to perform resource-intensive computing on-device.
The traditional IoT architecture is composed of four layers, including:
Cloud Analysis or Application Layer: Cloud-based services perform in-depth analysis of collected data and make it available to applications and users. This layer may also include data storage capabilities.
IoT edge devices move data processing capabilities to the network edge rather than centralizing them on cloud-based servers. This shift has both positive and negative impacts on IoT and data security, including:
Edge-Based Security: IoT gateways and security solutions help to address the security issues of IoT edge devices. By moving security functionality to the network edge and providing security directly to IoT devices, these solutions help to identify and block potential threats there, improving the overall corporate security posture.
Check Point offers a range of IoT security solutions, including protections for IoT edge solutions and the IoT devices themselves. Check Point also offers firmware assessments for IoT devices to help identify firmware security issues and recommend strategies for mitigating them.
To learn more about the security risks of IoT devices and how to address them with Check Point solutions, check out this IoT Protect solution brief. Then, to see the capabilities of Check Point’s IoT security solutions for yourself, sign up for a free demo.