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Edge computing: next-level cloud technologies

Optimised data processing with a decentralised cloud

The convergence of operational and information technology

Edge computing is a new distributed network model that came to prominence just as the Internet of Things was taking off. The basic idea is to process and exploit data closer to where it’s generated, and for Thales – which has made developing advanced sensors one of its core businesses – these new on-board technologies pave the way for promising new applications. But edge computing also raises its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

© Thomas Béhuret
Katarzyna Kapusta, cybersecurity engineer

Processing data at the edge of the network 

Katarzyna Kapusta is a cybersecurity engineer.

“Edge computing is an extension of smart sensor technologies, a field in which Thales already has a wealth of experience. Under this emerging paradigm, data is processed closer to where it’s generated and compute functions are allocated to the right components on the fly, paving the way to new applications and even more advanced sensors for predictive maintenance, space systems and other use cases. 

Edge computing could also shore up functional chains in distributed network architectures, with more compute nodes making the entire chain more resilient in instances where a constituent component goes off line. 

But for all the promise it holds, edge computing raises its own safety and security risks, particularly due to the potential vulnerability of individual links in the chain. More compute nodes means more possible points of failure, each of which could compromise the system as a whole, posing a potentially serious risk for critical technologies. Safety and security must therefore remain the number-one priority at all times. Cutting corners is out of the question!”  

Edge computing represents a step change. In short, we’ll need to rip up the rule book and start again.

Laurent Laudinet Internet-based Technology Segment Manager

New opportunities for creating value from machine-generated data

Edge computing promises to narrow the gap between information technology and operational technology, by executing data-processing operations on machines at the edge of the network,...