Monumental changes happened in 2020 that are setting the stage for a permanent impact on security at the edge. As more and more data continues to be pushed outside of the traditional data center to the edge, many devices connecting to corporate networks are contributing to an increase in cloud computing adoption.
This has also forced the major cloud vendors to reevaluate how they connect to the edge to fully protect data. Since devices at the edge must connect to a larger network, edge security growth skyrocketed to address the need for a secure connection to the cloud and core, or primary data center. Complexity is the villain of security, and as a result, a hybrid strategy has emerged. Companies are now focused on figuring out how to connect their compute, storage and security policies in a way that’s not overly complicated.
COVID-19 disrupted the traditional 8-to-5 workday, resulting in more data processing and management taking place at the edge than ever. Working from home has become the new normal, with large businesses such as Salesforce recently announcing that its employees will have the option to work from home permanently, post-pandemic. Others will no doubt follow suit, which could spur new policies around remote access and solidify permanent changes across the workforce. Companywide security is accelerating most organizations’ journey to digital transformation.
Security changes at the edge
This year and beyond, numerous trends will help shape the future of increased security at the edge.
- Hybrid cloud and edge merge for stronger data protection. More access points are now open at the edge, which can entice bad actors and introduce more breaches, with remote and branch offices being particularly vulnerable. The emergence and growth of SASE offers holistic networking that encompasses the edge. Cloud providers are undergoing a similar transition by implementing hybrid cloud and edge infrastructures.
- Zero trust architectures become mainstream. Remote access has increased, and while “behind the moat” was ample before, more devices are now coming in from everywhere. Zero trust is a real-world security offering that further enhances the “moat and wall” paradigm.
- New standards in the workplace. “Secure by default” practices will be implemented as the new standard for a remote workforce. Employees everywhere will undergo more training about security awareness and both VPN and multi-factor authentication will now be a requirement.
- Video streaming requires end-to-end encryption. Video security is a hot topic being addressed aggressively, due to the unanticipated boom in video conferencing (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams) among businesses.
- The Telehealth industry transforms. 2020 introduced a new age and faster ways to see your doctor from the safety of your own home, 24×7. Virtual visits will stay due to their speed and convenience. Patient privacy and HIPAA laws will force more encryption and data destruction policies in the medical field, and for geographically dispersed doctors’ offices everywhere.
Edge security today and beyond
The transition to remote work is here to stay. While many predict that work will evolve to a hybrid in-office/home-office model, the security implications of many devices needing remote access to corporate networks deployed at the edge, in the data center and in the cloud mean that businesses must follow a zero trust model. With the growth of video through remote work and telehealth, and even at the individual consumer level, end-to-end encryption is a must that will never go away. Infrastructure and operations are now defined across edge points, corporate data centers and cloud-based computing. This mesh of data that exists everywhere is now required to include security strategies and solutions to fully protect data and privacy.
To prepare for this transition into the new security-centric world, organizations globally must ensure that data at rest and in transit is encrypted. Strong identity management systems will be adopted to guarantee that edge devices are secured. Backup and recovery will become more important than ever before, as companies are inevitably faced with breaches and outages.
More data points mean that more information is available to those who need it, when they want it. And as data continues to move out of the traditional data center and to the edge, stronger data protection mechanisms will be adopted. While the impacts of 2020 forever changed the IT landscape, the foreseeable future of IT will forever be more efficient—and more secure—thanks to it.