Tempered Networks is broadening its network security approach with the announcement of the Identity-Defined Network (IDN) Fabric, which ties together the company's Host Identity Protocol (HIP)-based technology with enhanced services to help secure data traffic.
Tempered Networks first entered the market in November 2014 with the idea of using HIP to security the Internet of things (IoT). The HIP specification has its roots in technology originally proposed by Verizon and Ericsson and jointly developed with Boeing, providing cryptographically secure connections between different devices on a network.
Originally, Tempered Networks launched with physical HIPswitches that connected devices as well as the HIPswitch Conductor management tool. Now Tempered Networks is adding an improved dashboard for management, a trust map to understand connections, a new API for connecting devices and a virtual HIPswitch that can run in the cloud.
"The IDN Fabric consists of HIPswitches and services that are connected to the network and that can see each other," Bryan Skene, vice president of engineering at Tempered Networks, told eWEEK.
HIPswitches act as gateways to devices, providing a tunnel to other HIPswitches, according to Skene. HIP provides a secured abstraction layer on top of an existing network, providing a simplified approach for routing and firewall policy.
"The only thing that can get into the IDN Fabric is something that is allowed by policy," he said. "Everything else is denied by default."
Everything that is connected to the IDN Fabric is orchestrated and authenticated by way of strong cryptographic identities. As such, if someone, for example, steals a device, there is nothing the thief can do to change the identity of the device, Skene said. A HIPswitch administrator can simply kick a device off the network when it's reported lost or stolen.
From a connectivity perspective, the HIPswitch conductor dashboard is now being enhanced to provide greater visibility for administrators to troubleshoot potential issues.
"We now have the capability to check to make sure that any given HIPswitch can form a tunnel with all of its peers on the network," Skene said. "We're trying to make our users a lot more self-sufficient and reduce the cost of managing the network."
Going a step further, Tempered Networks is now extending its HIPswitch functionality by way of an API. The ability to manage a HIPswitch, create groups and policies, and create reports is now accessible via an API.
"Internally, in the Tempered Networks engineering group it has allowed us to do a lot of automation that we simply couldn't do before," Skene said.
The API has been in use by beta customers including a large airline that is using the technology to help transfer data off an airplane when it lands at an airport. Skene explained that typically an airplane only has one IP address and has to go through complex tunneling to connect to a server when it lands. Tempered Networks has put HIPswitches on planes so that when a plane lands, it can securely connect to a HIPswitch-connected server to transfer flight telemetry data across an IDN Fabric.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.