In a prior article, “NFV Presents Unlimited Possibilities for Service Providers,” a lot of great opportunities for service providers were highlighted.
I would like to call attention to another one that I believe has enormous potential for service providers to go after with gusto. Much like IPv6, we have been subject to the “coming soon to a theater near you” when it comes to the “connected devices” or the more catchy “Internet of things” phenomenon. But it really struck me that the movie is already running when I read this news article — “Refrigerators Launch Attack.” Our refrigerators are not only smart, they can be hacked and used to send spam out!
But what does that have to do with network functions virtualization (NFV)?
If our connected-devices count is rampantly going up in our homes, and these devices are using the service-provider network to connect to their cloud-based mother ship, is there an opportunity for service providers to be the guardians of these devices? Clearly there is no play for traditional client-based security here — the devices are too diverse and have way too little memory and compute to begin with — but what they all share in common is a lifeline to the cloud, a.k.a. the wireless networks, and the fact is that their normal behavior can be baselined and anomalies detected when there is a deviation.
Given that we are talking about millions of devices and lots of aggregated data, a compelling NFV solution is the only possible approach to be able to begin addressing this looming problem.
While the world connects away, who can watch over our assets in a reliable, cost-effective and scalable fashion? Do the service providers see this as a challenge and an opportunity they can capitalize on? Only time will tell.