Digital Comes of Age

For the past millennia or so, the traditional approach to securing assets has been the utilization of a castle mentality. Make assets hard enough to get to, with many layers of protection, and you will be safe. In reality this is very difficult to achieve because it relies on secrecy and knowing the types of threats you face up front, and, of course, a lot of monitoring.

In the digital world, the problem is different. Social media puts your brand on display right out front and invites others to engage it, even though your brand is one of the most precious assets you have.

The Internet of Things creates a problem as old as the computer itself, which is, not being designed specifically to be secure. The massive connectivity and ‘always on’ nature of devices that have historically never connected before creates a new paradigm where the technology is easy to setup and use but much harder to secure and protect from outside abuse.  

The advent of Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality(AR) and Immersive reality (IR) (or mixed reality for overall) offer a plethora of applications to make life more entertaining, business more connected, and manufacturing more efficient.

VR advancements are truly stunning to the senses with more tactile and sensory input options every day; the integration of personalized and corporate information creates new attack surfaces to consider.

The first big noise in the AR world for many people was the Pokémon Go app that created security risks in the real world enabled solely by the virtual world, but beyond that AR offers many cool business applications that also need a security perspective.

The IR technology is probably some of the richest business focused technology; look no further then how Airbus uses IR to immerse into a virtual aircraft design and evaluate the efficacy before actually building the design.  The savings must be immense!

Advances in machine content creation have many people predicting that soon advertising agencies will have machines creating up to 20% of the ad content that is used in campaigns. 3D printing has evolved to be able to revolutionize the manufacturing business and push the supply chain traditional boundaries to include printing products in real time, right in a store. 4D printing is right around the corner and could allow building to be self-healing and for construction components to change shape in response to environmental stimuli.

Vehicles have become platforms, very similar to telephones of the past. Do you remember when a phone was just that, a phone? Soon we added e-mail and other communication capabilities, then applications, and then they got their own identity and became payment and identification systems. Do you remember when cars were just cars? Soon we connected our phones to them with cellular and satellite for GPS. We added video capabilities and the ability to download an “App” to the car. The car can connect to the internet and call the dealership for assistance on its own. Soon enough the car will be autonomous and have the ability to be its own payment platform.

This doesn’t begin to discuss Drones or Virtual Personal Assistants like Cortana or Alexa which have their own issues to consider. The real message here is that all of this cool new digital technology is great; and the risk it introduces needs to be understood and mitigated or knowingly accepted.

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Dave Tyson

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