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Bring Down the Walls: How Wisdom from the Past Is Informing the Future of Data Security


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    In the age of cloud computing and remote work, traditional network perimeters have dissolved.  Simply stated, organizations can no longer rely on firewalls and virtual private networks alone to protect their data.

    The Jericho Forum, a pioneering group of security experts, recognized this reality back in the mid-2000s and developed, with truly remarkable foresight, 11 commandments for securing digital information in a de-perimeterized world (e.g. one without walls).  Though originally published over 15 years ago, these commandments are more relevant today than ever before.

    Let's break these 11 commandments down in simple terms and see how they align with a modern approach to data-centric security.

    1. Protect data proportionately to its value. Don't take a one-size-fits-all approach. Prioritize high-value assets.
    2. Make security simple, scalable, and easy to manage. Complexity is the enemy of security.
    3. Consider the context. Security solutions for one environment may not transfer to another.
    4. Use open, secure communication protocols. Security through obscurity doesn't work.
    5. Enable data to defend itself, even on untrusted networks. Don't rely on the network perimeter.
    6. Know the trust levels of all people and technologies. Verify based on risk.
    7. Determine mutual trust levels between users and devices. Authenticate both ways.
    8. Support federated identity management. Allow secure collaboration between organizations.
    9. Control access by data attributes and metadata. Don't just perimeterize the network.
    10. Separate duties and privileges. Limit damage from a single point of failure.
    11. Secure data by default, in transit and at rest. Don't allow unsecured access by default.

    As you can see, these commandments (authored nearly two decades ago) were clairvoyant in many respects at the time they were authored – and align perfectly with data-centric security approaches like Virtru's.

    By encrypting data and controlling access via metadata, data can be self-protecting without relying on network controls. Data stays secure by default even when shared externally. Fine-grained access policies travel with the data. And federated identity management enables secure collaboration across organizations.

    The Jericho Forum recognized early on that network perimeters would not be enough. By focusing on data-centric principles like these, organizations can build robust defenses for the de-perimeterized world we live in today.

    Matt Howard

    Matt Howard

    A proven executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years experience developing high-growth software companies, Matt serves as Virtu’s CMO and leads all aspects of the company’s go-to-market motion within the data protection and Zero Trust security ecosystems.

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