If you read Carl Weinschenk’s recent blog post on network security, I suspect that you may have already cancelled all your online accounts, unplugged your computer and abandoned modern life. I was tempted to do the same. It was an alarming article. One that left little hope of building a safe and secure Internet.
While I was reading it, I was reminded of a Marc Benioff interview I saw on Bloomberg. During the Q&A, Benioff stated that cybersecurity is an oxymoron and that the Internet is inherently insecure. That interview was recorded in January of this year. Since then, there have been a number of high-profile cybersecurity breaches.
Are Weinschenk and Benioff right? Is it time to start panicking?
I’m not so sure. I believe that we’re at the bottom of the downswing and that we’re about to take some major leaps forward. So before you unplug your router and start working on that cabin in the woods, let me tell you why.
As you might expect, one of the key reasons for my optimism is technology. I’ve been talking to a number of enterprises and service providers lately and there’s one topic that they’re all focusing on – encryption. Now, I’m not referring to current encryption technology. The one that the neighbor’s kid with an iPhone can crack. I’m talking about the hard stuff – encryption at the transport layer.
Until now, the industry has been concentrating on encryption at the higher layers of the OSI stack. In fact, it’s spent way too long concentrating on this. But things are starting to change. Optical vendors are now developing encryption technology that protects data at the transport layer. This means that even if data is intercepted in transit through the network, it can’t be unencrypted.
Think about that for a moment.
This technology means that no matter who taps your fiber and intercepts your data, they can’t do anything with it. In fact, optical vendors are now able to pinpoint where in the network cybercriminals are operating. So while the cybercrooks are busy trying to understand why they can’t read your data, you’ve already called local law enforcement and provided them with the exact whereabouts of the data thieves.
This is pretty impressive technology.
What’s heartening is how many enterprises and service providers are now starting to deploy this technology. In fact, some service providers are now offering Encryption as a Service (EaaS) to enterprises who don’t own their own network but still care about ultimate data security. Remember that acronym – EaaS. It’s set to become one of the most talked-about network services in the coming year.
It’s not just the advancements in technology that make me feel more comfortable about keeping my computer plugged in – it’s also attitudes. With the growing awareness of how vulnerable optical fiber can be, we’re seeing a broader realization that data security can no longer be taken for granted. It can no longer be an afterthought. Data security is now one of the first topics of conversation when discussing network builds.
This combination of fit-for-purpose technology and a security-aware attitude comforts me. It reassures me that cybercriminals no longer hold the upper hand. Is it a killer blow? We’ll have to wait and see. But we’re finally taking some big steps in the right direction. If we continue the current pace, I’m sure that cybersecurity will no longer be seen as an oxymoron but as an uncontestable truth.
What do you think? Am I overly optimistic here? Can I put my faith in new technologies and changing attitudes?
Or should I start building that cabin in the woods?