Securing the Conduit Doesn't Secure the Data

21 Jun 2023


To protect data, security teams have traditionally enforced policies on the conduits that carry the data, the network, application, and APIs. Yet in cloud-native applications the correlation between these conduits and the data they carry falls far below our standard of Zero Trust.

Securing the Conduit Doesn't Secure the Data

For decades, enterprise application security teams have fortified their defenses primarily around the conduits of data—the digital channels that facilitate the flow of information. In the era of client-server computing, this approach was more than adequate. Enterprises could effectively safeguard data by leveraging firewalls with rules anchored on network IP addresses and ports, essentially laying a protective perimeter around the physical machines that held valuable data. The simplicity of this direct correlation between the conduit and its contained data rendered this method both effective and efficient.

This method's effectiveness stemmed from our ability to assign specific IP addresses and ports to the machines holding the data we aimed to protect. The conduit of data and the data itself were virtually identical, making it possible to exercise stringent control over access. However, as the adage goes, "You can't secure what you can't see." The irony of this saying now manifests in our current digital landscape.

Next-Generation Firewall, Same as the Previous

The advent of web applications ushered in the era of three-tier application architecture. This evolution complicated matters by placing multiple applications on the same port, effectively diluting the once perfect correlation between the conduit and the data it contained. The rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications further muddled the picture, rendering the IP addresses virtually meaningless.

In response to this new challenge, a new type of firewall was born. Palo Alto Networks pioneered the application firewall, a solution that could identify the applications behind firewall rules rather than merely the conduit of data. This innovative approach was a significant leap forward but was not without its flaws. We were still protecting application data by identifying the application, not the actual data itself—a critical distinction that has become increasingly consequential.

Securing the Conduit No Longer Secures the Data

Fast-forward to the current era of cloud-native applications, with their hundreds of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Each API acts as a conduit for data, but the correlation between the API and the data it carries has become increasingly blurred. In effect, we're left trying to secure a nebulous collection of conduits, many of which bear little relation to the data they contain.

It's clear that in this new landscape, protecting the conduit no longer equates to protecting the data within. The stark reality is that we're trying to secure the wrong thing. It's high time we turn our attention to the actual data flowing inside these conduits, irrespective of the API or application in which it resides.

We need to move beyond the conduit-centric mindset and embrace a new approach to data security—one that directly secures the data in transit, regardless of the conduit it happens to be flowing through. This revolutionary approach calls for a new kind of firewall, one that eschews the traditional focus on the conduit and instead provides robust protection for the data itself.

See Where Data Goes. Secure Where Data Goes.

Enter Caber CA/CO. This groundbreaking solution offers security teams exactly what they need—a new level of visibility into the data moving within APIs. By focusing directly on the data, Caber CA/CO allows security teams to exert precise control over access to information, regardless of where it resides or the conduit it traverses.

It's no longer about securing what we can see, but rather about making the invisible visible. The data flowing within our APIs is no longer a shadowy figure lurking in the background but rather a tangible entity that we can scrutinize, understand, and effectively secure. The age-old adage of "you can't secure what you can't see" rings hollow now. We are making the invisible visible and securing it.

The path forward for enterprise application security is clear. We must transcend the dated focus on conduits and embrace a data-centric approach. Caber CA/CO is leading the way, proving that even in a world dominated by the intangible and invisible, robust data security is well within our grasp. This

shift in focus is more than a change—it's a revolution. And as with any revolution, the old must make way for the new. It's time for us to secure the invisible, to safeguard what truly matters—the data itself.

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