With all the IT headaches that the Covid-19 pandemic has created, those meeting Edge computing infrastructure requirements, are faced with new security issues at the edge. And these are not just restricted to being able to operate in harsh environments and remote locations.

In an era of increasingly sophisticated security threats, we all need to be committed to protect the data we are custodians of. The physical and operational security provided by sealed, low maintenance infrastructure is an absolute necessity, which address space constraints and autonomous operation. Your chosen Edge design must provide efficient, secure and guaranteed performance across a range of locations where traditionally this level of IT has never operated before.

Shifting critical infrastructure from traditional highly secure data centres located in compounds protected by razor wire topped perimeter fences, security camera coverage, 24/7 on site security guards, crash barriers, border force level infrastructure, is risky. The number of IoT-connected devices is projected to reach 75.4 billion by 2025, and the majority will require local processing centres.

Physical and IT security provisions need to defend a larger attack surface than ever before. All of this is being driven by the digital transformation of manufacturing processes, consumer behaviour which moves seamlessly between the digital and the physical, IoT and sensor data generation and of course the expected rise in data traffic as 5G coverage rolls out globally.

Part of the strategy for this level of compute in the community is a new breed of data centres which are being developed and deployed outside traditional physical security perimeters. These will serve the need for processing, storage and sharing of data close to where it is generated and consumed in retail outlets, factories, offices and on the streets.

This compute and data residency close to the point of impact will require hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of small self-contained data centres to run at the Edge. Needless to say, these sites will need to be made as secure as possible.

The world is embracing digitisation and there are many emerging use cases, that most of us haven’t imagined possible. Depending on the exact nature of the deployment this points to a range of related but different security challenges for anyone installing and operating digital infrastructure.

Early Edge data centre concepts were simply attempts to shrink down a giant data centre, which uses air movement for cooling into a micro footprint. This type of design is impractical and insecure by the very nature of its key components, chiefly air-cooling technology.

Liquid cooling chassis level technology for edge environments protects vital IT infrastructure from the chip to the chassis to the shell. Inside the sealed unit, security layers protect highly dense system-on-chip architectures, GPUs, edge storage flash, network, IoT sensors and industrial embedded technologies.

Secure standard cabinets sit inside many different physical shell form factors whether standard or bespoke including physically secure shipping containers. These are designed to be installed in harsh factory floor environments, in public areas and where physical space and utility services are often constrained.

Operationally, chassis-level immersion liquid cooling has many advantages over traditional air cooling. An often, overlooked cause of technology failure is the threat of air particulate contamination which is eliminated in this technology. Liquid cooling also increases security resilience by removing expensive moving electro-mechanical parts such as fans and filters which are prone to failure and require increased maintenance cycles. Increasing the timeline for servicing reduces human intervention, which is still a major cause of system vulnerability, and increased opportunities for failure. 

There is no escaping malice and misadventure and Edge computing will attract criminal behaviour from bad actors, whether for gain or vandalism. However, eliminating air cooling from your Edge solution will greatly reduce the need for air movement devices, and benefit from the development of silent Edge data centres, which increases the anonymity and adds to physical security

 

Four Key Points to include in your Edge Computing Strategy:

Utilities and Services – Does the solution minimises the overall power and drastically reduce the water requirement of the data centre?  Chassis-level Liquid Cooling does this.

Size and Format – Does the solution offer the compute density the location requires now and in the foreseeable future?  Chassis-level Liquid Cooling offers scalable server density, as well as increased rack density in standard-format cabinets   

Physical Security – Does the solution provide secure access to the site and eliminate environmental hazards?  Sealed immersion servers eliminate dust and gaseous contamination risk, reduce human intervention, greatly reduce non-authorised accessibility through non-grilled secured containers.

Outage-Proof technology – Does the solution provide security for utility outages? Chassis-level liquid cooling solutions eliminate the heat-spike associated with air-cooled systems when there is a power outage that reduces air-cooling capacity, therefore, guarantees continued service capability.

 

Current events demonstrate that Edge is becoming essential to our critical infrastructure and therefore demands better physical and operational design and security than that afforded your average public telephone box. Whatever your data needs, Iceotope's chassis-level immersion cooling technologies provide the high levels of security at the Edge for a huge range of deployments.

 

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