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The Glass House we all live in

Created: 18 Jul 2012
Nick_Kael's picture
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In today’s vast world of information, we have transparency of our data in trade for convenience. Wanting to make it thru the toll booth faster we store information in EZ Pass, we buy our morning coffee with a credit card, we visit the doctor and they store our information while a vendor archives data for them with who-knows-what software. Remnants of our data are everywhere in social media, mortgages, car loans, college applications and the list goes on. I am reading a great security book in which the author uses the analogy of the “glass house” originally designed by architect Phillip Johnson in 1947 and built in New Canaan, CT in 1949 on 11 acres of land. On the same plot of land he also built “Brick House”. After completion of both homes he decided to move into “Glass House”. The home was completely transparent except the bathroom, which was the only room in the home with walls from floor to ceiling. After moving in he found it becoming a tourist attraction. He placed signs on the property that the home was now occupied and asked people to respect his privacy; however, they still would visit the home so often that Phillip decided to move into “Brick House” and only use “Glass House” for entertaining guests.

Much like the world we live in now, we continue to make ourselves transparent. More and more we expose ourselves to the risk of personal information being seen by unwanted viewers. Continually the information security teams of many enterprises talk about being seen as the enablers and not the team that blocks or takes away all ease of use. They need to allow us to collaborate internally and externally to conduct business while hopefully keeping sensitive information protected. The demand on security is to drive productivity. Information should be instant and readily available to us no matter where we are, from home, work or mobile. Our processing power on the common mobile device today is 100 times faster and more powerful than early day PC’s. Is my Sony Playstation 3 only for gaming or do I wish to brute force passwords with it now? The more broadly and readily available data is, the more it becomes a challenge to secure that same information. Whether personal, national or corporate we continue to become a collection of glass homes.

We can place guards in buildings, alarms on the doors and other measures, however in this day and age it is easier for people to sneak thru the electronic doors, pick our electronic pockets, and rob our glass home - many times without detection or legal ramifications.

So when do we move out of our “Glass House”? Stay tuned for part two of this discussion!

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