Domorela's Blog: Security by Design: Considerations

When we conceived Domorela, we choosed it to be a hardware appliance running dedicated software. This was one of the decisions that had to do with Security by Design, because a hardware platform can be deployed at the the end user facilities as an on premise solution. We want to remark that this fact is nowadays related not only with privacy but also with security, as we explain jointly with other considerations in this article.

Starting with physical security, as any on premise solution, Domorela allows end users the possibility to keep it safe by using his own physical security measures, avoiding recurrent expenses in form of a service fee of a service provider with opaque measures about its physical security. We want to remember here the recent massive failure of a cloud service provider due to fire, concretely at OVH facilities, putting thousands of services out of order (including the e-commerce of a relevant KNX distributor).

Said the above, if you don't want to trust in the promises offered by a business model as the Internet cloud services, because of their opacity, we must say that the adoption of the on premise model requires to be well evaluated and well implemented. If your physical security measures aren't better than the measures taken at the OVH data centre, your facilities could even be in a worse situation in case of a similar event that could cause a major disaster.

We will continue our dissertation talking about security emphasizing the concepts of data integrity, data and service availability and, of course, also the bussiness continuity. Prior to take any security measure there are some questions to answer related with the former concepts. What is the most important thing to avoid: piracy, service interruptions or data loss? In other words, what are the security priorities? We must also pay attention to the threats we expect, to the unexpected ones and, finally, the security budget, so we cannot broke due to safety measures.

Domorela was conceived and is being developed with the above concepts in mind. For example, it comes with a battery to deal with possible power problems in the facilities and shuts down automatically when battery is low, ensuring service availability in the event of not so long power failures (60~80 minutes) and data integrity by performing a proper shutdown before an unexpected power off could result in data loss. Of course, there are more security measures taken to harden Domorela which will be mentioned in subsequent articles.

To end this article, we want to remark that working without the need of cloud services is also a security measure. The use of cloud services increases the attack surface of your network, the more you use the more you increase it. IoT for building automation implies a distributed network of many Points that could be in a single building, in a campus, even in one or several cities. Using common sense, we must avoid Internet cloud services to implement local projects. In our humble opinion, prior to take any decision we must ask ourselves questions like next ones:

  1. should we assume cloud services are the only way to deal with IoT and any kind of IT solution?
  2. why we cannot think about Intranet of Things instead of Internet of Things?
  3. have we calculated the actual costs involved in the cloud services offered to us?
  4. do we want to completely outsource our IT services infrastructure?
  5. why not implement our own Intranet of Things then extend it using Internet connections instead of using cloud based services to implement Internet of Things?
  6. should we consider the use of a cloud hybrid solution as the best option for large projects?


In our next article we'll continue talking about security by design.


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