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Apr 28, 2023

As Networks Change, the Need for Edge Protection Grows


The biggest cybersecurity threats that organizations faced a decade ago included things like phishing attempts, malware, and data-stealing viruses. All those legacy threats are still problematic today. But cybersecurity threats have expanded and evolved with network technology. Today, threats are coming from everywhere – even the edge of the network. Indeed, the need for edge protection has never been greater.

Understanding the Concept of Network Edge Protection

If you are not familiar with the network edge protection concept, it is all about protecting data that is stored and/or transported outside of an organization’s predetermined security boundaries. Being outside security boundaries makes it vulnerable. As hackers have grown more sophisticated in their knowledge of the edge, they have found new ways to exploit it for their own benefit.

Edge protection is generally addressed through security stacks and firewalls. Yet every organization is unique in its data security needs. Customized network edge protection solutions account for those individual needs to offer viable solutions for every organization.

More Edge Opportunities

One of the main challenges in the edge protection realm is the growing number of opportunities hackers have to do what they do. Ten years ago, hierarchal networks were combined with peering and edge routers that tightly controlled traffic in a north and south direction. Securing those older networks was comparatively easy. Things have changed a lot in a decade.

Today, traffic is much harder to control thanks to two big things: the internet of things (IoT) and mesh networking. Mesh routers are especially problematic because they send data in every direction. We no longer have the nice, neat, north-south data flow. We now need to account for data flowing back and forth from multiple directions simultaneously.

A Lot More Traffic

Edge protection is also more challenging now thanks to an exponential growth in traffic. As the IoT has grown, so has the entirety of the internet. Billions of cell phones have increased traffic exponentially. Streaming video increases the demand put on already stressed networks. And while those responsible for keeping everything secure have their hands full, hackers are waiting out on the edge.

More traffic gives them more opportunities. To a hacker, traffic represents data. Traffic represents the opportunity to sneak in undetected. So the greater the traffic, the more active hackers tend to be. And right now, they are extremely active on the edge.

This all leads to an important question about your organization: what is your approach to edge protection? It should be a priority rather than an afterthought. Your organization should have a specific edge strategy in place. That strategy should be revisited and updated on a regular basis to account for how your network is evolving.

Your First Line of Defense

Think of network security as a literal, physical battlefield. At the rear of the battlefield is the command center. In front are various layers of forces either launching attacks or defending against them. Out at the edges are the best of the best. Why? Because they are the first line of defense.

In a cybersecurity setting, edge protection is that first line of defense. The edge is where modern attacks are coming from. It is where unsuspecting organizations tend to be most vulnerable. That needs to change. Given that the edge represents the main line of attack, it is also the first line of defense. You need strength and effectiveness at the edge.

As networks change, the need for edge protection grows. We have seen a tremendous amount of network evolution over the last decade. An organization’s edge protection needs to keep up. How is your organization doing?