The most recent Gartner “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies” shows that edge computing is on the verge of becoming an “innovation trigger”, with mainstream adoption expected by the early 2020s. But how will it affect the security and productivity concerns of businesses?
Our latest research demonstrates that data security (62 per cent) and worker productivity (54 per cent) are key IT investment priorities, so there are many considerations around the interoperability of central data centres, as well as workflows, reliability, availability, and security. It is crucial for leaders to understand the risks and potential benefits of edge computing.
Edge computing solutions can take many forms. They can be mobile or static, such as when part of a manufacturing plant or offshore oil rig, or they can be a mixture of the two, such as in hospitals or other medical settings. A wearable health monitor is an example of a basic edge solution, being able to locally analyse data like heart rate or sleep patterns and provide recommendations without a frequent need to connect to the cloud.
As the volume and velocity of data increases, so too does the inefficiency of streaming all this information to the cloud for processing. This is a key benefit of pursuing edge computing, decentralising computing power and placing it closer to the point where data is generated. The rapid deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) projects for a variety of business, consumer and government use cases is driving this development.
Of course, there may be concerns – as there often are with mobility solutions which extend the IT footprint – that using edge computing exponentially increases the surface area for attacks. However, some edge devices negate this issue, enabling data communication to be locally encrypted and translated to a communication protocol before being sent to the company’s network core via the cloud.
Our online world has changed. Our increasing reliance on the internet and our ability to use its connectivity for a growing number of daily activities shows no sign of slowing down. With online-only businesses, mobile devices, App stores, bots and the proliferation of the IoT, today’s demands and tomorrow’s new challenges look set to continue growing. Centralised and distributed servers may not be the ideal mode of delivery, even in a cloud environment. Enterprises will likely eventually shift their approach to edge computing – it’s only a matter of when.
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