Robots are commonly deployed behind what are known as network address translation (NAT) devices. These important security devices restrict the methods that can be used to gain access to the robot. Most notably, one cannot dial directly into a robot, since it does not have a static, global address and port. The purpose of this feature is to allow your operators to connect directly to your Formant robots using the comfortable, widely-used SSH protocol.
By integrating SSH into the Formant platform, we’ve given your organization the power to tap directly into your robots from anywhere on Earth, and securely perform a multitude of actions, such as:
Simply enable SSH on your device during the agent installation process to enable all of the above and more. See user documentation on how to enable SSH post-installation.
Benefits beyond SSH
Formant’s Port Forwarding tool also allows your organization to manage devices remotely in a number of other ways. For instance, one can enact secure file transfers using sftp, secure copy using scp, and the ability to create on-the-fly VPNs using SSH-VPN. With SSH-VPN, users can connect to visual tools (e.g. rviz) running on robots in the field directly from their desktop. The data over this connection is peer to peer, encrypted over DTLS and does not go through Formant Cloud. Using the port forwarding feature, one has the ability to forward any port from any robot to your local machine for seamless, secure connectivity.
These tools, and more, make Formant’s Port Forwarding tool unmatched in today’s world of remote robotic administration. This unique set of capabilities and functionality give your business the ability to maintain essential connectivity and control over your fleet.
The magic word: security
In our experience, the final barrier standing between our customers and a sale is the question of security. As robots increasingly find themselves operating in the presence of — or even in partnership with — human beings, concerns about safety, security, and accountability become increasingly significant. In order to ensure the security of one’s operations, and those surrounding them, gold-standard cryptography protocols, like SSH, are imperative to your company’s success in the marketplace.
Robotics is still in its infancy. And just like any other novelty, it is met with a great deal of trepidation and uncertainty. Not only do the tools outlined in this article allow your company to do more things more efficiently, they also serve as an implicit guarantee to both existing customers and prospects. The more secure your stack, the more appealing your product. And every prospective customer that walks through your door will be carrying a great deal of pointed security questions and concerns. Be prepared, by equipping yourself with all the right answers.
Interested in bringing SSH and Port Forwarding into your operations? Click here to connect with a Formant representative.