I’ve been thinking more about the Sony Pictures story…. it has been mentioned that it could be an insider job… what this means is that all information needs to be protected, not just within the organisation, but between each individual, identity.
Every business process in an organisation should be protected cryptographically, there should be a thread of traceability leading to the originating source. Only authorised parties involved in any digital interaction should have access to information being moved around, or as a matter of fact, information at rest. All email communications should also be encrypted.. and only the creator of the content and recipients should be able to read communications, and attachments. Creators of information should have absolute traceability in every one of their digital interactions, that could be a part of a business process.
But how to do this? Like an elephant… you know how to eat an elephant? Eat a small piece at a time so you don’t get indigestion. So the answer is that one should take, and work with one business process at a time, building piecemeal a secure water-tight shield across an organisations information assets, including their people.
When the identity and associated roles -that trigger and consume- the digital interaction are not an integral part of the process. This means that participating parties cannot be legally held accountable for their actions. Principle consequence is a lack of absolute traceability in your organisation, and if there is some legal requirements, a need for manual paper processes to run in parallel with the digitised processes.
There are additional consequences:
- a lack of traceability gives limited transparency which means you don’t have control over the information in your organisation.
- When legality comes into play, there is the extra cost of running the digitised process parallel with a manual process.
- From a compliance perspective, although you can assign responsibility to roles, you cannot tie accountability with the responsibility because the -so called- identities and appointed roles are not really a part of the digital interaction.
- From a security angle, the risks to the integrity and confidentiality of your information is increased as the identity, or lack of a strong digital identity weakens the complete digital interaction/cycle.
Although many identity products tout to solve this problem, they do not. The reason why is that they are based on the use of a digital identity, and as I mentioned in the first post in this series, digital identities as used in main today are not identities at all! They weaken with exposure, not reflecting the real world whereby our physical identity strengthens with exposure. They are not people-centric but database/directory centric. This presents significant risks to the integrity and confidentiality of all digital interactions.
So in returning to the original question. The answer is when the digital interaction is pulling identities from a database or directory, not from the identity holder. What is needed is to weave a digital identity that is centric to the individual, one that is strengthened by reference authorities into the digital interaction. This is a true digital interaction anything less is not a digital interaction at all.