Business - Written by Brendan Peat on Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:37 - 12 Comments
How Web 2.0, Facebook, and the Net Generation will change corporate security
In the last 20 some odd years corporate security has made some headway. Companies are now at the point where they are reasonably efficient at keeping ‘hackers’ out and letting employees in. The problem is that to get to this point the enterprise has had to put up walls in the name of safety and security, but at the cost of functionality and logic.
The current Jericho model of security (fitting name) is great a putting up impermeable walls to keep to dangers outside at bay, but not so at quickly adapting and reconfiguring them. Even inside the walls of the enterprise security has largely been based on group permission. Which is just a step up from the one size fits all XXXL t-shirts that get blasted out of an air gun at sporting events.
The problem is that organizations today need to be agile, reconfigurable, be able to leverage partners and third party expertise. Unfortunately to operate in this new environment security and permissions need to be dynamic and flexible both internally and externally. To become a next generation enterprise it will be increasingly important to both empower and trust employees when it comes to information and security decisions.
My feeling is that in moving beyond the current model for information security is going to take a little bit of technology and a lot of trust. Web 2.0 tools and the Net Generation will both be additional factors that push the issue to the forefront at leading organizations. Companies will need to move to a model of ‘decentralized security’, which I see as basically allowing users to manage their own security permissions. Organizations will first start experimenting with information inside the firewall, but eventually they will need to evolve and extend beyond the walls of the enterprise.
Take the simple example of sharing a proposal. In a traditional organization that would be done via email, perhaps a networked drive, or more sophisticated reporting tools. The problem is that in all of those cases the permissions for the document have predefined by the system (ok except email, but we all know that is not the best way to share something with and organization). IT predetermined who should see the document even though they have no idea what it contains (nor do they care). A good wiki product will allow an employee to set permissions they decide are appropriate based on the content in the document, not to mention tag it so others can actually find it.
Allowing users to manage their own security permissions may seem like common sense, but in the IT world we are still a ways away. Luckily organizations are currently recruiting a generation of security 2.0 experts. Net Gener’s are constantly granting permissions, blocking harmful people and materials and managing spam filters. Now with Facebook’s feature that enables social graphs, they are controlling the access and permissions of hundreds of their friends, colleagues and family members to their personal information. They decide on who to allow to view various content, use specific applications and access certain areas of their profile. They can define access levels on a group or individual basis. Should I stop? Sounds a lot like they are taking network admin 101 to me? The bottom line is that they will be a generation of employees that has been developing some skills and thought patterns that will be portable to a decentralized security environment.
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