Tempered Networks Aims to Solve IoT Security With HIP

The founder of F5 Networks is now leading Tempered Networks and leveraging the Host Identity Protocol as a way to secure the Internet of things.

IoT security

It's hip to talk about the Internet of things, and today security vendor Tempered Networks is using HIP (Host Identity Protocol) to secure IoT.

Tempered Networks is the rebranded name for a company formerly known as Asguard Networks. The roots of Asguard are with its founder David Mattes, who now will be the CTO of Tempered, while the founder of F5 Networks, Jeff Hussey, serves as president and CEO.

Mattes explained to eWEEK that he first started working on the problem of IoT security while at Boeing, as the airline manufacturer was building out its distributed supply chain for the 777 aircraft. The idea was to have a "tempered" layer in the communications stack that adds cryptography to all communications.

By leveraging HIP—a technology specification that was originally proposed by Verizon and Ericsson and jointly developed with Boeing—Tempered Networks has enabled organizations to have isolated overlay networks in which communication between industrial systems can be protected and secured, according to Mattes.

"The elegance of HIP is that it can provide a backward-compatible interface to the application layers and add a cryptographic identity," he said.

From a product perspective, Tempered Networks has HIP switches that sit in front of equipment, and there is also a conductor technology that orchestrates policy and handles monitoring.

The Tempered Networks platform is intended to protect data in motion. Mattes noted that encryption for data at rest is outside of the purview of what Tempered Networks is offering.

Another area that is outside of Tempered Networks' platform is integration with enterprise IT identity stores, such as Microsoft Active Directory. However, that integration with enterprise identity is on the company's near-term road map, according to Mattes. The road map for Tempered Networks also includes a possible software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for managing and monitoring a HIP-secured network.

Asguard Networks got its start under Mattes' leadership in 2012, and with the transition and rebranding today to Tempered Networks, CEO Hussey is aiming to position the technology to solve a wider array of problems than just industrial control systems.

"Our challenge is people trying to do Internet of things security with traditional methodologies, like firewalls," Hussey said.

Hussey sees Tempered Networks in a position somewhat similar to what F5 Networks was in 15 years ago. He founded F5 Networks and evolved that company from being just a simple network load balancer to becoming an application delivery controller market leader.

"When I started F5, I think the total available market for load balancers was in the hundreds of thousands, and now it's in the billions," Hussey said. "By any measure from any market size, the total available market for Internet of things security in converged infrastructure is a market worth tens of billions today, so I like our prospects."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.