It’s a smart move for the networking vendor. Gartner estimates that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use by organizations worldwide by 2020. And IoT device attacks are on the rise.
The product targets smart cities, industrial IoT, and connected health care. It secures devices that don’t have embedded security, said Abby Strong, vice president of product marketing at Extreme Networks. “For example, a multi-million-dollar MRI machine,” she said. “It’s completely amazing visual technology, but you find out too late that it was built to be on a completely private network and you can’t even change its IP address.”
These types of edge devices may run out-of-date operating systems, have hardcoded passwords, and lack anti-virus and firewall capabilities because their manufacturers didn’t consider that the private enterprise network could be connected to the public internet. And they are typically deployed in a flat or unsegmented network so that if breached the attacker can gain access to other areas of the network.
“Defender for IoT is very easy to deploy, very easy to maintain, and it’s also deployable on any type of network infrastructure,” Strong said. “It does not matter to us what underlying IP network you are using. You plug it in, and you automatically have segmentation and security of that device.”
How It Works
The product works like this: Users plug the Defender Adapter into an Ethernet port and run the associated application. The Defender application uses machine learning to identify typical traffic patterns of network devices and generates a security policy that says what a device communicates with and how it can communicate, automating edge network security for the enterprise. Once initial device profiles have been dynamically generated, non-technical staff can place the adapter between the device and the network and apply the appropriate security profile using a drop-down menu.
It also provides Layer 2-7 visibility, which lets users segment groups of IoT devices into multiple, isolated secure zones, thus reducing the network attack surface.
“Segmentation is critical because you can’t protect against every breach,” Strong said. “But one important thing you can do is contain that breach so that damage is dramatically minimized.”
Users can also centrally monitor and track device usage, location, and roaming.
The product launch follows a strong fiscal 2019 second-quarter earnings report that saw Extreme beat Wall Street’s expectations. The company posted net income of $7.2 million after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier, and reported revenue of $252.7 million, up 9 percent year over year and up 5 percent quarter over quarter.