By now, you’ve probably heard the news. Google’s announced a new security paradigm called The BeyondCorp initiative. Tossing traditional security practices aside, BeyondCorp will see the search giant move all of its corporate applications online – to the cloud, in other words.
This change is necessary – enterprise is digitizing itself, and that’s caused an evolution in how we work. Users are utilizing remote connections to the workplace with greater and greater frequency, accessing corporate networks through home computers, smartphones, and tablets. It’s easy enough to keep devices secure within the walls of one’s own organization, but what about when someone accesses sensitive information on their smartphone in a coffee shop? What about when someone’s working with intellectual property on an unsecured wireless connection?
With traditional practices, very little – IT professionals simply have to hope that corporate information remains safe.
“Virtually every company today uses firewalls to enforce perimeter security,” reads a Google white paper published in December. “However, this security model is problematic because, when that perimeter is breached, an attacker has relatively easy access to a company’s privileged intranet. As companies adopt mobile and cloud technologies, the perimeter is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce.”
In other words, new security models will eventually need to be implemented in every business. And they are, albeit gradually. According to a 2013 release by Gartner, the security as a service market is currently booming, predicted to reach $4.13 billion in annual revenue by 2017. Many market leaders (Verizon and Coca-Cola, for example) have already embraced new security paradigms.
Why is it so significant that Google’s finally among them?
Simple: Because Google is a leader in more than just search. It’s an international tech giant; one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. When it does something, people take notice.
When it does something, many businesses cannot help but follow suit.
Consider, for example, back in September 2014 when Google cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council. A free-market organization, ALEC was one of the most influential businesses standing against action on climate change. Yet after Google distanced itself, others followed – Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo!, and many others also opted to cut ties.
In the case of ALEC, Google’s departure was arguably a catalyst for the departure of other businesses. Hopefully, BeyondCorp will serve the same end with cloud security. Hopefully, decision makers who haven’t already examined the possibility of security-as-a-service will follow Google’s lead and realign their priorities.
“A lot of companies can learn from Google’s aggressiveness,” Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jon Oltsik explained to The Wall Street Journal. “There’s not a company anywhere that won’t have to develop something like this.”
Google’s taken a huge step forward with BeyondCorp, for itself as well as for cloud security. Businesses are becoming more digital, and the number of devices connected to corporate networks at any given time is increasing exponentially. In order to properly manage this growth, decision makers are going to need to embrace different security models – just as Google has done.