A Fortress or a Modern City? That is the question

Before he found international fame with his, to all intents, groundbreaking action-novel The Da Vinci Code, American author Dan Brown released a number of novels that later went on to become best-sellers.

The first novel he ever released was entitled Digital Fortress, a thriller about a cryptographer who is called in by the National Security Agency to help break a code that its all-powerful device cannot break. Cue lots of Browninian twists and turns and cliff-hangers.

It’s an interesting title, one that presages the digital world we live in. A lot has happened in the 13 years since it was released with regards to cyber security, information risk, ethical hacking and other things pertinent to this industry.

The next RANT topic coming up at the end of the month deals with the idea of so-called digital fortresses, contrasting it against the open approach, otherwise known as de-perimeterisation.

What will be discussed at this networking event, which all professionals operating in the information security industry – including those with expertise in governance & compliance, digital forensics and penetration testing – are advised to attend, is a number of topics including physical defence strategy of past civilisations, a comparison with how modern towns and cities are secured and the pros and cons of a digital fortress strategy or an open approach.

The latter is referred to, or at least known as de-perimeterisation. This term, coined by Jon Measham in 2001 and popularised by the Jericho Forum, describes “the erosion of the traditional secure perimeters, or network boundaries, as mediators of trust and security”.

This so-called erosion has been made possible by consumerisation online, meaning that firewalls can easily be bypassed and security overhauled. As such, if an open approach is desired, then the argument goes that every level needs to be secured using a myriad of strategies including data-level authentication, encryption, and inherently secure communications. Traditional boundaries, once take for granted, are fast disappearing as the internet continues to evolve at a startling pace.

It’s a fascinating subject, one which is occupying the thoughts of many security professionals to no end at the moment. Attend the next event and join the discussion by emailing Gemma at Acumin to be added to the guest list.

“Protecting our Assets; Fortress or Modern City?”is being held on November 30th and will be the last in 2011.

For more information visit the RANT website or join us on Twitter @RANTforum or @Acumin.  You can also get in touch with the discussion host Paul Vincent of Cyber Security Limited at his Twitter profile @cybersecurer.

– Gemma Paterson, Acumin


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