66% of IT teams view edge computing as a threat to organizations

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Security concerns overshadow potential benefits of edge computing in the enterprise, Kollective found.

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Despite the growing popularity of edge computing in the enterprise, two-thirds (66%) of IT teams see edge computing as a threat to their organizations, a Kollective report found. 

The threats are rooted in concerns around security, with more than half (52%) of employees claiming they will encounter trouble ensuring complete security across all edge devices. Internet of Things (IoT) devices did not have the same trepidation around it, as 88% of respondents believe IoT devices make their workplaces more efficient. 

Kollective’s Distributed Devices research report surveyed more than 270 IT decision makers in the US and UK to determine their top edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT) concerns.

SEE: Special report: From cloud to edge: The next IT transformation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Edge computing is the compilation, creation, and analysis of data at, or close to, the location where the data generation actually occurs, rather than in a centralized computing environment. The data is collected via IoT devices, and with 20 billion internet-connected things predicted to be in circulation by 2020, IT professionals need computing power that is able to handle this large volume of data. Edge computing is supposedly the answer, especially in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive.

“As the network edge expands through the deployment of large-scale IoT networks, businesses will increasingly be able to gather important data and insights to open up new business opportunities, transform workplace safety, optimize energy use, and increase efficiency and productivity through automation,” said Kirk Wolfe, vice president of corporate development at Kollective.  

In addition to security, respondents cited other edge computing challenges including the identification and deployment of edge devices (38%), the large volume of data generated at the edge (38%), and the ability to fit edge components into existing architectures (36%).  

“These concerns are overshadowing the potential benefits and slowing overall adoption. For some companies, this will result in being left behind as the competition races ahead with digital transformation,” Wolfe said. “The bigger question might be which is the more significant threat, getting left behind as your competition digitally transforms or facing the security threats posed by edge computing devices to minimize risk and exposure?”

Almost half (47%) of IoT leaders said the investment in software infrastructure could help edge components integrate into existing architectures, the report found. Some 27% of respondents also said Software-Defined Enterprise Content Delivery Networks (SD-ECDN) could be another solution. 

All IT organizations using edge computing devices must prioritize the regular delivery of vital updates to devices, to prevent security issues and promote prime functionality, Wolfe said.

“As the edge computing movement brings millions of new devices with a range of operating systems and a wide variety of update schedules into the workplace, IT organizations will be challenged to solve this complicated problem while building these large-scale networks to deliver business benefits,” Wolfe noted. “This will place significant pressure on IT leaders to invest in the network infrastructure to not only initially scale these edge computing networks, but deliver a regular drumbeat of software updates and patches to maintain security across every edge device.” 

For more, check out How to implement edge computing on TechRepublic. 

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