As an IT professional, you’re probably used to the constant treadmill of new ideas, technologies, and concepts that you need to know to stay on top of your game.
In that vein, allow us to flag for you an important new way to think about keeping IT systems secure: Decentralized Cybersecurity. Read on for a short primer that will go over everything you need to know about Decentralized Cybersecurity, and why it’s so important in today’s IT landscape.
As with any new concept, it’s important to first define our terms. Decentralized Cybersecurity is an alternative way of thinking about and orienting ourselves towards keeping our systems secure.
Legacy cybersecurity systems have typically tried to protect users and assets by building a moat around a central “safe” network. That’s becoming more difficult as the boundaries of what needs protecting continue to grow, often in sporadic ways.
Decentralized Cybersecurity envisions a new way of protecting digital properties. The goal of this is to protect all of your digital assets at each endpoint, without relying on a traditional perimeter.
With just a little unpacking, we’ll quickly see the many advantages of Decentralized Cybersecurity over more traditional perimeter-based cybersecurity systems. Let’s quickly walk through them.
This is the big one, because it’s the most important goal of any cybersecurity system. Centralized cybersecurity might make you feel secure, but in a world awash with mobile devices and remote work set-ups, it’s a good bet that you have endpoints—digital assets that you want protected—that exist outside of your secure perimeter.
But if we shift our focus to protecting the endpoints themselves, rather than the system as a whole, then we end up securing everything that needs securing. Instead of maintaining a single moat, Decentralized Cybersecurity ensures that every user has their own modern, light-weight shield that is always deployed.
In this way, decentralizing doesn’t just increase coverage, it makes coverage more targeted. Companies that embrace Decentralized Cybersecurity protect every endpoint that needs protecting, and they don’t waste resources protecting assets that, for whatever reason, aren’t being used.
Modern IT divisions operate more and more as silos within their organizations, and in a centralized cybersecurity model, IT professionals are being asked to approve and oversee an ever growing number of digital assets.
This isn’t sustainable. Every time someone utters the phrase “check with IT first,” the ability to get work done takes a hit. This friction can have measurable impacts on a business’ ability to respond to customers, adapt to changing market conditions, or even be first to market with a great new idea.
Decentralized Cybersecurity allows companies to properly decentralize their IT systems and give their employees the freedom and agility to do what they do best, safely.
Finally, Decentralized Cybersecurity can provide a much more personalized system of security measures for an organization than legacy cybersecurity systems are capable of pulling off.
Ditching our moat metaphor, let’s for a moment think of centralized cybersecurity as buying a suit or dress off the rack. Sure, you can approximate fit by selecting your general size, but you’ll never look as good as you will wearing something tailor-made.
Decentralized Cybersecurity is exactly that: a tailored solution to any company’s cybersecurity needs that’s capable of growing and adapting as-needed. When the stakes of protecting digital assets are potentially existential, why settle for an off-the-rack solution?
Hopefully it’s clear by now why Decentralized Cybersecurity has so many advantages over centralized approaches. But if these advantages are by themselves not enough to convince you of the importance of decentralizing, consider the numerous global trends that are necessitating a more decentralized approach to cybersecurity:
The proliferation of mobile devices isn’t a new trend, but it’s not one that’s going anywhere, either. Modern businesses need to allow employees to work on-the-go, and that means more endpoints for IT professionals to protect.
Decentralized Cybersecurity is uniquely suited to bring mobile devices inside the safety of a company’s network.
Many companies were already moving towards remote and hybrid work setups prior to March 2020, but the pandemic pushed nearly every industry to reevaluate how they might join the remote work bandwagon.
However, remote work strains the ability of a single moat to continue to protect all of a company’s digital assets. It’s hard to suddenly extend that moat out to thousands of homes without introducing new vulnerabilities, especially when this shift was done in a hasty, and often haphazard, way as we saw during the pandemic.
Here again Decentralized Cybersecurity shines, because it allows IT to add new devices to the protected network without sacrificing security.
The core idea of Decentralized Cybersecurity is simple: instead of protecting a system holistically, IT professionals focus on protecting the endpoints of that system.
There’s no single, optimal way to roll out a paradigm shift like this. Instead, it’s up to IT professionals to evaluate their own networks to see what sorts of benefits a decentralized approach to cybersecurity might bring, and how best to start moving in that direction.