The death of the enterprise boundary and the evolution of edge security

The death of the enterprise boundary and the evolution of edge security
I am Axway’s Chief Security Office and Chief Cloud Architect. I oversee Axway’s advanced research and the architecture team’s activities related to cloud computing and deployment. I am active in Axway’s patent development program and work closely with the security office to develop new solutions. My background in B2B and Managed File Transfer technologies started in the early nineties as corporations started to interconnect over X.400 and continued through the rapid conversion to the Internet, working with tools to manage the security of technologies like SMTP, S/MIME, FTP, PGP, SSH and AS2 as they gained enterprise adoption.

Across the globe, organisations in all industries are facing the increasingly complex job to control the security and privacy of their data – wherever, however and whenever it is accessed. In one way or another, this has always been a challenge for enterprises.

However, as big data, cloud services, mobile tech and social networks converge in the enterprise space, organisations today are under greater pressure than ever before to keep up with the impact this is having on security.

Staying on top of changing security needs

There has never been a more challenging time for business to stay on top of the security agenda. Meeting new information security challenges, whilst keeping employees happy and making the most of the latest tech innovation is a fine balance.

Gartner recently brought this into focus, predicting that by 2017, 40% of enterprise contact information will have leaked into Facebook via employees’ increasing use of mobile applications.

Keeping data secure as it moves into, within and out of the enterprise can be a bit like shooting a moving target if the right tools are not used. Data flowing across different application silos, user communities, and enterprise boundaries, does so in different ways — from system to system, human to human, human to system via portal, machine to machine, on-premise to cloud, cloud to mobile device.

Now, factor in the complexity and cost of tracking and controlling data from the outside, into and throughout the enterprise, and back out to external communities. And then multiply that by the amount of data you need to run your business, all of the combinations of systems and people that need that data, and all of the formats they need it in. The potential for disruption, error, and failure lurks around every corner and requires a new approach.

Bidding the enterprise boundary farewell

With the number and type of entry points to the enterprise increasing and the job of securing data at every step of its journey getting more complex, the old, network perimeter approach to enterprise security is on its way out. As the boundary of the enterprise extends beyond recognition it is paving the way for edge security.

Essentially, this means transforming the enterprise edge from just a boundary that keeps bad things out, to an integration point that brings partners and customers in, and creates new value for business communities.

For businesses to succeed they need to be aware of and respond to the specific security requirements that apply to the edge of their enterprise, find ways to get a closer look at their corporate data and enjoy the benefits of the likes of cloud without fear.

Embracing a data-centric approach to security

Organisations need to take into account the granular control of data that they need today; the extended boundaries of the enterprise that enable them to consume public and private cloud services; increased mobile access to applications; and greater and faster connectivity with other trading communities.

Achieving a holistic approach focused on data and its flow instead of network boundaries is an exciting prospect, and one that provides a powerful tool for enabling business success.

If businesses can achieve granular control of their data, safely embrace cloud services, and enable the likes of mobile access to business apps then they will tick boxes for their increasingly tech-savvy workforce.

Moreover, it will also enable the business to use that information in a secure manner to make better business decisions, protecting their reputation, their business processes and assuring their place in the enterprise ecosystem of tomorrow.

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