While the need for total digital security has only increased over the past decades, the technology we rely on every day is often far from as secure as consumers assume. While virtually all devices, networks, and users utilize some form of information security practices, the overwhelming majority of these are separate systems that aim to keep outsiders from accessing vulnerable networks and data stores rather than improvements to the intrinsic security of the technology. 

While this may seem sufficient for some cases, the reality is that most security solutions are woefully inadequate when it comes to addressing the inherent flaws and vulnerabilities of cybersecurity technology. 

This issue has not escaped the notice of major regulatory agencies either. Earlier this year, Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), criticized tech companies for their failure to prioritize the safety and privacy of consumers. This indictment is particularly potent coming from Easterly, who heads the United States’ national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to digital and physical infrastructure. 

The Burden of Safety

In many critical industries, a combination of legislation and presumed ethical responsibility mandate designers and manufacturers to account for the safe, secure usage of all new products from the outset. The world of technology, however, lacks many of these safeguards. 

The reasons for this are manifold. For one, the tech industry, as we currently know it, is still relatively young. For example, it was more than 80 years from the time automobiles were introduced until the US federal government mandated that all new cars being sold must have built-in seatbelts. 

Another reason that new technology pertaining to the cybersecurity space often lacks the oversight present in other industries relates to the nature of the threats in question. While the potential for accidental user-caused data breaches certainly exists to some extent, the majority of modern data threats come from malicious actors. This is the current industry dynamics that make it easier for tech companies to pass off the burden of safety, making it the responsibility of customers to protect themselves from attackers. 

While it is still up for debate on whether or not tech companies should be held responsible for the safety of their products, CISA Director Easterly was clear in her Carnegie Mellon University talk on where her organization stands regarding where the burden of security lies. 

“We find ourselves blaming the user for unsafe technology. In place of building-in effective security from the start, technology manufacturers are using us, the users, as their crash test dummies — and we’re feeling the effects of those crashes every day with real-world consequences,” she said. “This situation is not sustainable. We need a new model.” 

Information Security Legislation

Despite the lack of regulation surrounding the creation and distribution of software and Data-Centric technologies, the information stored and transferred using these tools is often bound by strict legislation. For instance, in the United States, all information related to individual health is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Compliance with HIPAA regulations is dictated by the US Department of Health and Human Services and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights. 

Moreover, it should also be noted that non-compliance with privacy laws such as HIPAA for health-related data, CCPA legislation in California, or the GDPR (pertaining to EU subjects) is prone to penalization. 

Secure-by-Design Technology

Critical security concerns surrounding data that relies on digital privacy measures highlight the need for a better data protection paradigm than most individuals and organizations currently use. This is where “secure-by-design” technology is urgently needed. 

In the current system, tech companies create and sell technology that leaves users to contend with suboptimal solutions to their own security needs. However, as the name suggests, secure-by-design technology is created with privacy and security and embedded into a data-file from its origination to its expiration. 

CISA Director Easterly noted the importance of this approach in her address, pointing out that “… ultimately, such a transition to secure-by-default and secure-by-design products will help both organizations and technology providers: it will mean less time fixing problems, more time focusing on innovation and growth, and importantly, it will make life much harder for our adversaries.”

For now, the vast majority of ubiquitous security solutions are simply bandages over the inherent flaws of digital networks. However, a better, more fundamental type of cybersecurity does exist. 

Self-Protecting Data and Zero-Trust Security

Whether or not new regulations will compel the technology industry to create fundamentally more secure systems in the future, sensitive data — currently stored in digital spaces — already faces more threats than ever before. 

To date, the concept of perimeter security has been the de facto standard for data security. With the advent of the internet, securing networks has become a greater priority, and reliance on tools such as IP address verification and multi-factor authentication has only increased. Although relatively mature, these methods still serve as the primary ways in which most companies attempt to ensure that private information stays private. 

While perimeter security continues to serve an important purpose in protecting secure files, this form of traditional data protection is fundamentally flawed. When an organization’s defense relies purely on perimeter security, identifying and addressing vulnerabilities becomes a game of whack-a-mole between hackers and network administrators. 

Both conceptually and in practice, Zero-Trust security is a revolution. Rather than rely on a series of firewalls and trust that those with access are legitimately allowed to be there, Zero-Trust security protects data by demanding continuous authentication from users. Meanwhile, self-protecting data protocols — unlike perimeter security — are designed to give data files the ability to protect themselves from creation. 


As a leader in self-protecting data, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files 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. Open-source security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.