Like everything in life, knowing whom you are dealing with is essential. I seriously doubt that I’m going out on a limb to say that no one likes dealing with a phony. If you think about it, in the physical world, almost everything we do is based upon trust and relationships: friends, significant others and professional relationships. Is your Doctor qualified? Is your fiancée already married? Regardless of the relationship, it’s important for an individual to know whom they are dealing with. The same is also true in business – does this company have the means to pay for the product we are shipping them? Should we trust this importer? Therefore, I believe that knowing the identity of whom you are interacting with in the digital world is just as important. In fact, it may be even more important given the potential for rapid massive financial theft and sabotage.
To be clear, I’m defining a digital relationship as any electronic system that communicates information about you, your customers, your patients, your partners, including the ability to change, share or alter information on your behalf. Nowadays, with the advent of social media these “digital relationships” are everywhere – Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter as well as other social applications. The trend is to give these applications permission to share information amongst and between these new age applications, along with other more traditional applications such as e-mail accounts, contact lists, and more. For example, grant Linked in access to your address book or e-mail account and they will search for new business contacts to link to. The power of what I’ll refer to as “Cross Communication Applications” is unmistakable; they save time, and provide tremendous benefit to the end-user.
Even businesses are getting into the act, as they are now actively sharing enterprise information from cloud based applications such as Salesforce and Concur, with their on-premise back-office applications such as E-Business Suite, SAP, or other home-grown applications. With all this sharing going on, it’s vitally important that everyone is certain of the identities exchanging information. If a malevolent person or program were successful in impersonating your digital identity, the resulting damage from such a breach could be quite significant. Therefore, knowing that you are only sharing information with a trusted identity is critical.
Consumer-based cross communication likely poses less of a financial threat than do enterprise information or sharing – but ultimately, only you can be the judge of that. Therefore, the more important the information to you, the more security measures you should take – defense in depth is truly your single best defense against malicious threats.
A Gateway is one of the most powerful tools available to stop would be posers from accessing your digital assets. Since a Gateway reads and monitors all application traffic flowing into and out of Cross Communication Applications you can instruct the gateway to do a number of things, such as:
* Verifying that the incoming IP address matches the “white list” of trusted IP addresses
* Verifying that the IP traffic hasn’t been spoofed
* Insuring that incoming traffic does not contain Trojans or Known cyber attacks….and much more.
In summary, if securing your information matters, you should do a little research to determine whether or not a Gateway would be right for you. Remember, we all really need to know who we are dealing with.