One hundred-sixty years ago, government information was transmitted by Pony Express. Today, the only horsepower needed to send a crucial message is that in a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Edge computing is making the process of sharing and storing data faster than ever, by keeping data and computational processes close to the endpoint where they’re created. Industrial computers out in the field or a mobile phone in a pocket can send enormous amounts of essential data in seconds. Computing at the edge enables endpoint devices to connect and interact with each other through the cloud in a faster, more direct way than centralized computing allows.
According to market predictions, edge computing as an industry will be worth $61.14 billion by 2028, with the amalgamation of AI into the edge ecosystem driving most growth. Edge technologies are enabling organizations of all sizes to boost organizational agility and develop new, better customer experiences by placing applications and infrastructure closer to locations where data is produced and consumed. Edge computing is part of a list of growing computing trends that includes hyper-automation, device-as-a-service adoption, 5G, and internet of behavior (IoB) analytics. And for government agencies, edge computing has great implications for storing, processing, and analyzing data and helping to make decisions in a faster, more efficient manner.
Making Computing More Localized
Edge computing eliminates the requirement to connect to the cloud to make decisions, by delivering real-time local data analysis to endpoint devices, which may include anything from autonomous vehicles and remote mining equipment to wearable medical devices or digital billboards. Localizing computing helps businesses and government agencies strengthen their digital infrastructure, build resilience and flexibility into their operations, and tap the economic potential of cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning and 5G.
Edge computing is enormously useful for government agencies using the technology to process data from connected devices to improve security, increase efficiency, and save money. One example of how government agencies are already using edge computing is in pandemic-related contact tracing efforts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has applied edge computing to anonymously track the spread of COVID-19.
The ability to analyze data at the network edge, on IP-connected cameras, and without sending it back to central servers is a crucial advantage. It will have profound implications in surveillance and public safety use cases. It will give traffic managers, first responders, and other government staff who monitor data feeds immediate and more actionable insights. The Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security have both begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible with edge computing, using it in sensors and security cameras to gather and process data where it’s situated, rather than at some far-away HQ. As more agencies adopt edge techniques, we can expect to see even more innovative applications that improve security, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Security Implications of Edge Computing
Processing and storing data in smaller, local pockets does come with new security risks. Edge devices are deployed far from a central data center or infrastructure, making them more challenging to monitor from both a physical and digital security standpoint. The concentration of computing in corporate data centers and hyper-scale clouds has allowed companies and government agencies to hide their data and processes behind an array of physical and virtual security defenses. Edge computing is forcing users to rethink security.
Conventional IT security models are increasingly unviable when it comes to the edge; one common risk is for cybercriminals to intercept data from its many open endpoints while it’s being transmitted from devices to the edge server. Another risk is that malicious software could be installed on devices or the edge server itself.
Given these risks, the solution is already in motion: all organizations should be investing in better endpoint security. Edge computing simply requires installing security checkpoints along the steps of the computing process. This includes ensuring that data is encrypted while in transit, that devices and the edge server are protected from malware, and that access to data and applications is closely monitored for breaches, including with a zero-trust security model.
Implications for the Future of Office Work
The increase in remote work has better demonstrated the benefits of edge computing. As more employees work remotely, there is a greater need for secure access to data and applications, often away from a central network. Through edge computing, employees can access their employer’s real-time data reliably and securely wherever they are.
The way we work is changing, and edge computing will play a significant role in that change. As 5G networks become more widespread, we’ll have access to the high-speed, low-latency connections that will enable us to work anywhere. Edge computing will enable us to move even further away from the traditional office model and into a more flexible and decentralized future of work.
The HP-Z Workstation is designed for edge computing. Z-series Workstations are the ideal machines for local processing at the network’s edge – providing developers more control, higher performance, and improved security compared to cloud-based solutions.
Z Workstations protect edge computing endpoints against malware threats with HP’s industry-leading security measures. HP Wolf Security is hardware-embedded, with a security module that sits separate from the motherboard, monitors security risks in real-time, and self-heals in the case of a breach. Through HP Sure Click, a micro-VM feature opens files and websites in isolated virtual containers so that corrupt files are destroyed without infecting the rest of a workstation or accessing its files. With the right workstation, federal government agencies can take advantage of all the benefits of edge computing, including top-of-the-line security and performance.
ABM Federal knows that procuring secure end-point devices for a government agency can be time-consuming, challenging, and limiting. Our “Simple and Secure” commitment keeps us focused on straightforward design & implementation, streamlined procurement, clear visibility, and an overall end-user ecosystem that puts IT security first. “Simple & Secure Federal Office IT” is the outcome ABM Federal strives to help you achieve. We are proud to partner with HP, raising awareness and simplifying the procurement of preconfigured, asset-management-ready devices, featuring the industry’s best hardware-enforced security. Contact us today to learn more about equipping your office with reliable, powerful HP devices, optimized and secured to meet your performance needs.
Simplify and Secure Your Federal Office IT
ABM Federal, an HP Platinum Partner, provides HP Security Solutions to government agencies. With over 40 years of experience, an excellent past performance record, and Best In Class (BIC) contracts, ABM Federal offers a variety of innovative products and services to simplify and enhance your federal office IT.
Contact us at (800) 522-9226 to learn more.
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