Extreme Networks launches Defender for IoT

Defender IoT, part of the Smart OmniEdge solution, is now generally available, providing customers with IoT protection that is simple for non technical people to use, and which can be deployed on any network.

Extreme Networks’ Defender for IoT dashboard

Extreme Networks has announced the availability of Extreme Networks’ Defender for IoT. The company believes that its simplicity, its ability to be deployed on any network, and its effectiveness at letting users segment and isolate devices or groups of devices to reduce attack surfaces will make this a winner for partners, and secure them meetings with decision makers.

“We announced Defender for IoT last summer at the same time we announced Smart OmniEdge, the solution of which it is a part,” said Mike Leibovitz, Senior Director of Product Management and Strategy at Extreme Networks. “Since then it has been in extensive tests, including a lot of work with Ascension, the health system, who is a big lead customer for the product, and we have made some enhancements to it. The product is now shipping.”

Leibovitz said that the extended trial had gone very well.

“We have had a very positive response, both from customers like Ascension who are public, as well as from some very well-known household brand names that are not public references. When they heard about this product, they put it into trials almost immediately.”

The product is designed to be so easy to use that even non-technical staff at customer sites can work with it. Users simply plug the Defender Adapter into an Ethernet port, and run the associated application. Defender learns the typical traffic patterns of network devices, and dynamically generates a security policy that locks down what a device communicates with and how it can communicate, automating edge network security for the enterprise. Once this initial device profile has been generated, a non-technical user can easily place the adapter between the device and the network and apply the appropriate security profile using a simple drop-down menu.

A key aspect of Defender for IoT that has been intrinsic to it since its original announcement has been its ability to work on any network in order to protect both wired and wireless devices from cyberattacks.

“Traditionally at Extreme Networks, we have had a focus on helping customers securely onboard and control Extreme Networks’ own switching and wireless devices,” Leibovitz said. “What we have done with Defender for IoT is extend its ability to support any devices, so that it can go to a customer that may have somebody else infrastructure. It gives them pinpoint security for IoT devices without having to rip and replace, because it is deployable on any IP network.”

Defender for IOT’s layer 2-7 visibility lets users segment and isolate any device or groups of IoT devices into multiple, isolated secure zones, thus reducing the network attack surface.  Users can also centrally monitor and track device usage, location and roaming. An optional ExtremeMobility AP3912 Wall Jack offers the same integrated defense as the Defender Adapter for both wired and wireless devices, but also provides the ability to support multiple devices in a single room

“The most exciting aspect of the enhancements we have made since the product was originally announced is that we have added a traffic profiler that literally takes a capture of the traffic coming from the IoT device and recommends the correct security profile to the customer,” Leibovitz said. “We are taking away the guesswork. Since last summer, we have also made some changes to workflows and how customers interact. The idea here was to make it very simple. That’s what we have been focused on.”

Leibovitz said that Extreme Networks’ channel partners should be enthusiastic about Defender for IoT.

“The words ‘IoT’ and ‘security’ are great speaking points for the reseller community,” he said. “There are very few customers who won’t take a meeting on a security topic, which is, unfortunately, not the case with something like access points. Being able to attach IoT and security like this should get them a meeting with almost any prospect. In addition, this is also deployable on any network infrastructure, which is important to partners. And it works – providing a great level of automated security for customers. We are really excited about this.”

At this stage, Extreme Networks’ channel for IoT solutions is primarily their traditional IT partners, but that is slowly changing.

“An increased inflection between IT and OT [operational technology] is taking place around Smart Buildings and Smart Systems, and we are seeing a good convergence in that area,” Leibovitz said. “Many IT resellers are adding capabilities in areas like HVACs, security cameras, and building system automation, while at the same time, traditional OT facility teams are moving into IT.”