United States. Johnson Controls announced the purchase of Tempered Networks, a Zero Trust Cybersecurity Provider, based in Seattle, Washington, recognized for creating 'Airwall' technology, an advanced building self-defense system that enables secure network access through diverse groups of endpoint devices, perimeter gateways, cloud platforms, and service technicians.
This represents a sea change in operational technology based on secure transmission pipelines to ensure that building data exchanges and service actions can only take place between people and devices that are continuously authenticated.
The acquisition gives Johnson Controls the ability to provide zero-trust security within the fabric of its OpenBlue secure communications stack, advancing its vision of enabling fully autonomous buildings that are inherently resilient to cyberattacks.
How Airwall works
Tempered Networks' Airwall technology uses the host identity protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to create new overlay networks based on encrypted and authenticated communications. The policy manager (also known as a driver) applies configured digital policies that control connections within the hidden overlay system. The default position for the policy manager is 'zero trust', that is, it only allows connections between authorized and continuously authenticated entities. Once a communication device is successfully authenticated, an encrypted tunnel is created through which data flows. The advantages of this cybersecurity technique are as follows:
* The creation of an always-on, software-defined security perimeter that protects device-to-device, device-to-cloud, and device-to-user interactions.
* Airwall achieves this by using Host Identity Protocol to create a covert, micro-segmented network that overlaps a building's existing network infrastructure, making the solution very cost-effective as well.
* A new level of authentication is created for connected building systems, allowing for greater system automation of functions such as heating and cooling, lighting, security and airflows.
"When it comes to buildings, we need to create easily deployable cybersecurity defenses, as we are often faced with critical infrastructure, including assets like data centers and hospitals," said Vijay Sankaran, vice president and chief technology officer at Johnson Controls. "Tempered Networks' Airwall approach is designed specifically for our industry as it is designed around the principles of zero trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud, enabling the optimization of remote buildings in the most reliable way possible."
Tempered Networks' Airwall technology is being integrated into Johnson Controls' OpenBlue platform, which is increasingly recognized as a software platform for smart buildings with advanced AI-enabled building management capabilities1. OpenBlue provides a flexible computing approach to converged building technologies and makes those technologies more insightful, powerful, and optimized through edge AI and full machine learning in the cloud. The ultimate goal is to make all buildings smarter, healthier and more sustainable.
"Digital transformation is the primary way we will make the world's buildings more autonomous and resilient," said Bryan Skene, chief technology officer at Tempered Networks. "Being acquired by Johnson Controls allows us to fully integrate our Airwall technology into its software stack, providing an advanced security platform for a range of edge-to-cloud applications. Our ambition, now that we are part of Johnson Controls, is that building systems everywhere can be managed from anywhere and remain secure against cyber threats."
The acquisition of Tempered Networks builds on the company's previously announced selection as a core component of Johnson Controls' OpenBlue platform and services. The integration of Tempered Networks' security technology builds further on other recent acquisitions, including Foghorn, whose technology is taking the company's ai capability to new levels for computing-constrained devices. It also complements partnerships with Pelion and DigiCert to provide advanced secure device management and digital trust for smart building technology.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.