Integrated networks are the cornerstone of today’s increasingly connected world. Users around the globe can access a staggering amount of data, with more becoming available daily. The internet has revolutionized the way we store and access information, allowing for greater collaboration and innovation. However, this freedom does not come without risks. As networks become more accessible, so do potential vulnerabilities. Organizations need to adapt and embrace intelligent data security solutions to fully and safely reap the benefits of connectivity.

The Network Effect

Over the last generation, society has experienced exponential digitalization as businesses and individuals all move online. A few short decades ago, internet connectivity was a novelty with few practical applications beyond scientific research and military uses. But now, the internet is an essential part of daily personal and professional life for most people. While technological advances in both hardware and software have had transformative impacts on the internet’s usability, perhaps the single greatest factor leading to our current dependence on the internet is a phenomenon known as the network effect.  

In essence, the network effect refers to any situation in which the number of users on a given platform increases the value of using that platform. While this term is often used in business and economics to describe companies’ efforts to reach a critical mass for their user base, examples of this effect can be seen universally. In the case of online networks, maintaining an online presence becomes increasingly useful as the overall number of users grows, creating a self-propelling online community that shares and interacts with data digitally. In short, the more users flock to the internet and specific online platforms, the more valuable those platforms become.

New Connectivity, New Concerns

Businesses in every sector have recognized the value of moving operations online. As one industry leader embraces digital processes, the network effect dictates that more will soon follow, creating the wave of digitalization we see sweeping across markets. Today, virtually every industry utilizes tools and processes hosted through digital networks to store and access information. As organizations transition into these digital spaces, they unlock the benefits of easy networking — but while doing so, they also create countless opportunities for their online information to be compromised. 

In the past, digital networks tended to be relatively self-contained. In order to access information in a particular network, users had to log into terminals directly connected to the data source. Today, with virtual and cloud-based systems, not only is information readily accessible from anywhere in the world but the data for a given system may be stored in an entirely different network. While the value of this accessibility is clear, remotely accessible data is fundamentally less safe than locally hosted information. 

Over time, optimum security protocols have evolved to match the needs of their systems. Efforts to physically restrict access to terminals were joined by passwords and approved user accounts, followed by increasingly sophisticated forms of data encryption.

But here, the network effect strikes again. As digital processes become more central to daily business operations, more and more users are granted access to previously limited systems. And with each new party that has access to information, the potential for inside threats increases. Likewise, each user introduces new vulnerabilities tied to human error. Inherently, the network effect exponentially increases both the user base and potential avenues for breaches. 

Adapting to New Trends

Even outside of the sheer amount of useful data available online, there is great value in the internet and the rising use of interconnected systems. The ease with which companies and users can collaborate and share information has enabled countless instances of the network effect on a micro-scale. Platforms, systems, or projects that can be shared with multiple users become increasingly valuable with the addition of new collaborators. And breakout technologies continue to appear. Organizations and individuals looking to capitalize on these opportunities constantly connect and adapt, increasing the relative value of these new systems in turn. 

But as capabilities grow, so do the potential dangers. Even companies that are quick to adopt new technologies are often slow to adopt new security measures, leaving them vulnerable as hackers exploit the new doors that have been opened. Constant tech innovation and new digital trends require adaptable security solutions that can evolve and react. 

Truly Secure Data

In an age where even the best-secured “private” networks are, by design, more accessible than ever before, network firewalls are not enough to secure the data contained inside. Traditional “perimeter security,” wherein data is protected by keeping outsiders from accessing a system, becomes increasingly inadequate as connectivity increases. With information being made necessarily available to users anywhere, the process of granting access to approved parties becomes a difficult balance between security and convenience, often leaving numerous doors open to malicious actors. 

Historically, organizational data has been hidden behind firewalls and is left vulnerable to those already inside the system. However, the predominant need for remote access and the growing number of users driven onto platforms by the network effect mean that perimeter-based security measures are swiftly becoming more obsolete than ever. That’s why Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, data remains secure.

At Sertainty, we know that data is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable our partners to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.