Tech

Johnson Controls Acquires Tempered Networks to Provide Zero-Trust Cybersecurity to Connected Buildings

Published on: 24 June 2022 01:57 PM
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Johnson Controls, a leader in smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, purchased Seattle-based Tempered Networks. Tempered Networks' "Airwall" technology is a building self-defence system that offers secure network access for endpoint devices, edge gateways, cloud platforms, and service personnel.

It's a step-change in operational technology built on secure transmission pipelines to ensure data exchanges and service activities only occur between verified people and devices.

Johnson Controls gains the ability to provide zero trust security into the fabric of its OpenBlue secure communications stack, furthering its aim of creating completely autonomous buildings that are naturally resilient to cyberattacks.

Tempered Networks Airwall technology uses the Host Identity Protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to create new overlay networks built on encrypted and authenticated communication. The policy manager enforces configured digital regulations that control connections within the veiled overlay system. 

The policy manager's default setting is "zero trust,' which means only enabling connections between continuously authenticated and authorised entities. When a communicating device correctly authenticates itself, an encrypted tunnel is built via which data flows.

The advantages of this cybersecurity technique are as follows:

  • The creation of an always-on and software-defined security perimeter protecting device-to-device, device-to-cloud, and device-to-user interactions.

  •  Airwall achieves this by using Host Identity Protocol to create a cloaked and micro-segmented network which overlays a building’s existing network infrastructure, making the solution both highly cost-effective and cloaked.

  • A new level of authentication for connected building systems is created, allowing for greater system automation of functions such as heating and cooling, lighting, security, and airflow.

Vijay Sankaran, vice president and chief technology officer, Johnson Controls, said:

"When it comes to buildings, we must create easily implementable cybersecurity defences as we’re often dealing with critical infrastructure, including assets such as data centres and hospitals. Tempered Networks Airwall approach is purpose-built for our sector as it’s designed around principles of zero trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud – so enabling remote building optimisation in the most trusted way possible.”

Tempered Networks Airwall technology is being integrated into the Johnson Controls OpenBlue platform, which is rapidly becoming known as a leading smart building software platform with advanced AI-enabled building management capabilities. 

Through edge AI and comprehensive machine learning in the cloud, OpenBlue delivers a flexible computing approach for integrating building technologies and making them more insightful, powerful, and optimised. The ultimate goal is to make all buildings smarter, healthier, and more environmentally friendly.

Source: Dark Reading

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