One question I’m frequently asked when I’m talking with folks about Edgewise is where our name comes from. After all, we describe the ways in which firewalls fail, so how does a name with the word “edge” in it suggest that our approach is more effective than perimeter-focused technologies?
The short version is that it has everything to do with how the network is seen, and how looking at it differently can reduce the attack surface. Let me explain:
The inspiration for Edgewise’s company name can be traced back to a cellphone. Pick up your phone and hold it so that you can see the screen. Now imagine you’re an attacker–what you’re looking at is the maximum surface area of the phone that you can possibly expose. This is a broadside view of your phone, and it’s a huge target.Now, take your phone and turn it sideways, so you can see the volume buttons or the on/off button. You’ve reduced the surface area that’s exposed significantly, possibly by as much as 80 or 90%. This is the edgewise view of your phone (see where we’re going with this?)
But we’re not finished–now turn your phone again so you see just the end, including the headphone jack (if you still have one!). That’s the smallest surface area you can possibly expose for your phone. Your phone’s dimensions haven’t changed, but the exposed surface area has been dramatically reduced.
In essence, that’s what Edgewise does. From a business perspective, we don’t reduce the size of your network, we don’t change the shape of your network, but we reduce the attack surface.
The name Edgewise can also trace some roots to a visualization of a network’s workloads and communication paths. If you picture every application in the network as a point in space and the paths by which they communicate as lines between those points, you end up with a three-dimensional “graph” of points and lines. Graph theory is the branch of mathematics that explores how graphs represent data and how those representations can shed insight on the data. And in graph theory, the lines that connect each data point are called “edges”.
Edgewise’s machine learning system analyzes the edges of that graph of connections to determine (and reduce) the attack surface of the network, letting you enforce policies to reduce that attack surface and make it harder for attackers to move laterally through the network.
Analyzing the edges (i.e., the lines that connect one point to the next) helps you determine which edges are necessary at all. The science of reducing the attack surface isn’t in changing the size of the network itself, but in examining which pathways can be eliminated. An edgewise view of the network, not to mention an intelligent… err, “wise” look at the edges of the network, is the key to preventing attack progression. Hence, Edgewise.