Will Private IP Networks Solve for IoT Security? The Answer May Be in Endpoint Management Made Lighter and Less Expensive by Evolved Connectivity


There seem to be an endless ways to secure the IoT and Industrial IoT, and yet the industry continues to struggle with the challenges, so much so that many observers believe security may be the only thing holding the IoT back from faster growth.

A lot has been written about the security stack for connected things, and as companies from start-ups to tech giants continue to develop their piece of the solution, working in massive ecosystems, participating in unprecedented open source community projects like EdgeX Foundry, joining global standards organizations like the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) which has more than 500 members, we are starting to see increasing fragmentation.

This is not unusual in early-stage industries like IoT: investment, debate, multiple standards, development of hundreds of IoT platforms, successful projects, failed projects, and projects that never get out of the Proof-of-Concept stage.

Ultimately, things shake out, consolidation happens, and to the winners go the spoils.

Ed Wood, who recently was named CEO of Dispersive Networks, is moving into the leadership role at the company after over two decades at Accenture working with the world’s largest technology and networking companies. The move signals his belief that we may have missed something along the way when it comes to securing massive numbers of devices, from smart phones to sensors, connecting people and machines in a way he believes will truly unlock the value of IoT.

“My team at Accenture and I worked with Dispersive and saw the potential to disrupt how we connect mission critical systems by leveraging the Internet,” Wood said. “With programmable networking, we’re able to realize the true potential of any-to-any connectivity. Why is this so important? Because IoT can happen anywhere, and in the electric energy industry, for example, grid assets are in places so remote that traditional private circuits, VPNs and MPLS networks can’t provide the ultra-secure, ultra-resilient, high-performing networking connectivity with feasible economics.”

Beyond the ubiquity of the public Internet, which Wood says Dispersive’s software and algorithms tame

 into private networks that can thwart man-in-the-middle attacks and more, “there’s an operational efficiency to leveraging it to create and manage mission critical private networks. Just think about how impractical it would be to connect hundreds of thousands of IoT sensors on private networks in the old school manner,” Wood said, “When you use Dispersive’s programmable networking, you can securely connect endpoints over the Internet and even better, the security up and down the entire stack is enhanced.”

This includes cybersecurity, which is beyond important when it comes to critical infrastructure including traditional energy sources and grids, alternative and sustainable energy systems, communications infrastructure, healthcare databases, financial systems, and more.

A recent report by Carbon Black laid out the “10-1” ratio; cybercriminals spent $1 trillion developing cyberattack software (according to the World Economic Forum) while all governments, enterprises and other organizations spent $96 billion (according to Gartner).

IoT Analytics, a top industry analyst firm covering the IoT, lays out six principles for the IoT cyber security stack: User, Device, Gateway, Connection, Cloud and Applications. And while they separate “connection” as an element in the stack, the fact is connectivity is happening from the edge to the application and back again, traversing any number of access networks, transmission networks, clouds and more.

“When we think about connectivity as the lifeblood of IoT systems, particularly mission critical systems, we can find new ways to thwart attacks, with intelligence and event or session management practices to secure data-in-motion,” Wood said. “When Dispersive designed its programmable networking architecture, we built security into the network instead of treating security as a bolt-on. This allows us to deliver ultra-security in a lightweight fashion at the very edge of a network, which allows us  to address the fabric of IoT systems in a very elastic way.”

Wood sees this opportunity as more than a business model, but as a meaningful movement towards securing networks that secure society. “We’re all clear that our communities, our citizens, businesses, infrastructure, military and government agencies and schools are under enormous threats,” Wood said. “While no one company is going to fix the future of everything, it is energizing to see the technology and communications industry coming together to work together, and for me, a better way of connecting people and protecting data is an exciting component and contribution.”

Wood assumes day-to-day leadership of the company and succeeds Richard Harrison, who will become the company’s chief operating officer. Wood spent 23 years in the Communications, Media and Technology Group at Accenture, a global management consulting firm. He had been a managing director of Accenture for 12 years before joining Dispersive Networks, focusing on carrier digital transformation.  

“Ed has worked closely with our team over the last few years and demonstrated that he is both a thought leader and visionary,” said Dispersive board chairman Steve Shane. “We have already benefited from his help articulating our value proposition, defining our market strategy, and launching joint customer initiatives enabled by Dispersive’s programmable networking and brought to market with Accenture. In his new role, Ed will have an opportunity to strengthen this partnership, accelerate our growth in new verticals and enable more customers to benefit from our solutions.”

 “This is a tremendous honor for me. I’m proud to be joining such an accomplished team,” said Wood. “Programmable networking has the potential to transform almost every critical industry vertical. Energy, healthcare, financial services, government and a whole range of sectors demand highly secure but elastic and fluid networking at the lowest possible cost.”

The Dispersive™ Virtualized Network dynamically splits session-level IP traffic at the edge device into smaller, independent and individually encrypted packet streams. This results in ultra-secure solutions that have been verified in the most demanding industry verticals.

“We’re going beyond the standard approach to networking to enable our partners to create unique and differentiated solutions that serve specific vertical industries,” added Wood. “It’s an exciting time in networking. Dispersive has the ability to make innovation and transformation a reality for organizations across the globe.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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