Friday, 7 September 2012

The Network is the Risk

John Gage of Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, famously came up with the slogan The Network is the Computer to usher in a new style of computing. He was describing the UNIX workstation paradigm. Machines connected by a local network cable and using a central file server. This architecture, which is now taken for granted, ushered in a whole new range of threats and risks.

Fast forward a couple of decades and network is largely synonymous with Internet that risk has become a whole lot bigger. Faster forward again to today and both network and Internet are synonymous with wireless, ubiquitous connectivity. Each stage widening that range of threats and risks.

It is therefore time to introduce a new aphorism:

The Network is the Risk

People serious about information security still keep discrete computers discreet in metal-lined tents. Enterprise IT departments keep trying to lock their data away in key-card protected data centers, but it keeps leaking out into mobile devices of all sorts. That network connection is now the biggest risk CIOs face.

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