SECTIONS - The Internet of Things
January 21, 2015

Creating a Well Tempered Network: M2M Security Firm Gets New Funds, Leader, Name


The M2M security provider formerly known as Asguard has changed its name to Tempered Networks, hired on the founder of F5 Networks as its new leader, and is telling the story of how it grew out of Boeing to address the real world needs of the aircraft giant and other companies that are retooling their businesses to benefit from the Internet of Things.

Jeff Hussey, who established F5 Networks, in November came aboard Tempered Networks as president and CEO. He is being called a co-founder of Tempered Networks, for which he recently raised $2 million in funding and expects to bring in additional capital soon. He and CTO David Mattes, the other co-founder of Tempered Networks and the founder of Asguard, aim to take the company on the next leg of its journey to help businesses secure their industrial Internet applications.

Tempered Networks plans to do that with the company’s HIPswitch Conductor scalable orchestration engine, its line of HIPswitch hardened physical and virtual security appliances, and its SimpleConnect management console and user interface. Starter kits begin at $9,995.

Former Boeing employee Mattes, who was with the aircraft giant’s R&D effort for 13 years, began the work that evolved into Tempered Networks when Boeing called on him to address some of its challenges related to bringing connectivity to its manufacturing floor to allow for better reliability, remote monitoring, and vendor access.

“People are trying to enable their apps to communicate with each other and doing that in a way that is trustworthy is really hard,” Mattes said.

So Mattes and his team created a solution to the problem. Leveraging standards from the International Society of Automation, Trusted Computing Group, and Internet Engineering Task Force, that solution enables secure end-to-end encrypted communications between critical infrastructure and data centers. The HIPswitch allows for that by creating a secure encrypted overlay network that is centrally managed and cloaks the endpoints so they cannot be seen.

Mattes says that addresses one of the major challenges of M2M, which is restricting the community of interest between the devices that need to communicate with each other. There’s overexposure of these machines to the underlying network infrastructure, he says, so they need to “be made to somewhat disappear.” You can do that, he says, by infusing cryptographic identity in devices, but still creating trust between machines.

“Encryption is easy, but trust is hard,” he says.

So Tempered Networks uses the Host Identity Protocol for encryption and IF-MAP for trust.

“This is a way to have inherent security in your network because it doesn’t happen at the application layer, it happens at the protocol,” says Hussey.

Boeing and 14 other organizations in the manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities industries use the security solutions now offered under the Tempered banner. The aircraft giant has for nearly a decade been using the products, the first of which became commercially available in December of 2012.

“Operations people need an inherently secure system, without requiring some intrusive add-on software to be installed onto their equipment every time the IT staff thinks a new virus image or other configuration change is warranted,” says Craig Dupler, retired strategic architect and technical fellow at Boeing. “At the same time, IT personnel lack the resources to meet the variety, scale, and lifecycles of production industrial networks. What results are inadequate integration, increased downtime, and unnecessary exposure to cyber attacks. At Boeing, we were able to bridge the cultural divide between IT and OT by deploying large-scale industrial overlay networks that coexisted with our enterprise network in a way that was highly secure, robust, flexible, and cost effective.”




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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