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Going to the Edge with Security 

  • November 2014
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 8 pages

Introduction

In building construction, effective supply chain management is critical to completing projects on time and within budget. In the sequenced orchestration of construction, delayed delivery of building supplies in one stage can have cascading implications on latter stages. Recognizing this risk, building contractors make calculated choices among delivery approaches. A tangible example is the mixing of cement, aggregates, and water to produce concrete. Should the concrete be produced on or in close proximity to the job site, or should the concrete be produced at an off-site location and transported to the job site? While many factors go into the decision on where to mix the raw materials (e.g., available space at the job site for storing raw materials and mixing, local ordinances, economies of scale, and quality control), the delivery of wet concrete is also a consideration. If, for example, the transportation of wet concrete from the off-site mixing plant to the job site is unpredictable or extensively lengthy relative to mixing the cement on-site, the construction project timeline would need to be extended, and the anticipated project cost increased to compensate. In a manner of speaking, there are trade-offs.

Might this analogy on location trade-offs be applicable in the delivery of information and network security? Stratecast believes it is. While the use of security technologies by businesses is critical in managing risk, trade-offs are present. For example, in distributed denial of service (DDoS) security, redirecting inbound Web site traffic to a scrubbing center adds network latency and processing time to the end-to-end delivery of legitimate traffic; time that could reach a level noticeable to site visitors. While an acceptable trade-off to the Web site owner relative to the potential alternative of a disrupted Web site, it’s a trade-off nonetheless. Additionally, there is the implicit cost of network transport used to direct inbound Web site traffic to the scrubbing center, and then returning legitimate traffic to the Web site. This network usage is not free; the cost is included in the price of the DDoS security service.

This is just one example of the trade-offs with a security approach that relies on redirecting network traffic to a centralized processing center. Similar trade-offs in terms of security and network infrastructure investments and latency are present if security processing is conducted at an on-premises gateway location (e.g., at a business network perimeter or in front of a data center). Perhaps a relocation of security processing is in order. In this SPIE, we examine an alternative approach of pushing security processing outward to the edge of carrier networks.

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Going to the Edge with Security 

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