@DXWorldExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Blog Feed Post

Walled Cities & Gunpowder, Firewalls & Hackers: Ways to Think About Cyber Security & Piracy

The Walled City of Carcassonne

Defensive walls have been built around cities since before Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. For literally thousands of years, if you wanted to protect a collection of assets (people, livestock, intellectual property, real estate, etc.), you put them in a city and built a fortified wall. If you were really serious about protecting your investment, you added a moat or ditch or other obstacle and, where possible, built on the high ground.

This method of defense worked great… right up to the 7th or 8th Century in China and the 11th through the 13th Centuries in Europe. That’s when the gunpowder-powered cannon made defensive walls useless. What good is a wall with a big hole in it?

If you were a city owner, city builder or city dweller in 13th century Europe, you might have thought that the best way to survive was to scatter your people (or livestock, intellectual property, real estate, etc.) so that it would not be susceptible to invasion from cannon-wielding invaders. After all, a cannon (especially a 13th Century cannon) capable of blowing a hole in a city wall is big and the army that has to move it must stay with it to protect it. Scattering about the countryside would protect you from a serious army that used a big cannon to enter a city and pillage it.

The funny thing is… that’s not what happened. The technology (the gunpowder-powered cannon) forced changes in military strategy, political strategy and consumer behavior. It also had a profound impact on the “doing of life” for both the aristocracy and the proletariat. Cities did not get smaller – they got bigger. Since cities no longer needed walls, all kinds of things were empowered to change. Land ownership, land use, commerce, human interaction, the distance between the “country” and the “city,” even site selection for town centers adapted to the new paradigm.

Learning From the Past

So what can we learn from the relationship between walled cities and gunpowder?

There are myriad lessons, but today I’m interested in Cyber-security, Cloud Storage and Firewalls. There are several parallels one can draw with respect to the use of walls to guard things. A wall can keep primitive invaders at bay for a while… but siege engines are the “anti-wall” and the arms race can go either way on any given day.

Which begs for the question: How should one defend a collection of bits in the 21st Century? If walls can be breached with “virtual” gunpowder-powered weapons, how should we think about defense in an open environment?

Is it possible to defend a collection of bits when the bits are openly available to everyone on the Internet? If it is, are there strategic lessons can be learned from urban planners over the past millennium?

I think there are. But I want to know what you think.

A Homework Assignment for You

First, pretend that a highly protected collections of bits (like iTunes movies or music or CAD/CAM B1 Bomber Plans) are defended by “virtual” ancient city walls.

Now pretend that Anonymous or some other hactivist group has a “virtual” gunpowder-powered cannon and will have no trouble blowing a hole in it.

Now pretend that the IP stored behind the city walls wants to spread out, get bigger and become more valuable.

How will it happen? Email your ideas to me at [email protected] or post something on my FB wall or follow me @shellypalmer and tweet me your thoughts.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

DXWorldEXPO Digital Transformation Stories
Data center, on-premise, public-cloud, private-cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, IoT, AI, edge, SaaS, PaaS... it's an availability, security, performance and integration nightmare even for the best of the best IT experts. Organizations realize the tremendous benefits of everything the digital transformation has to offer. Cloud adoption rates are increasing significantly, and IT budgets are morphing to follow suit. But distributing applications and infrastructure around increases risk, introdu...
Over the course of two days, in addition to insightful conversations and presentations delving into the industry's current pressing challenges, there was considerable buzz about digital transformation and how it is enabling global enterprises to accelerate business growth. Blockchain has been a term that people hear but don't quite understand. The most common myths about blockchain include the assumption that it is private, or that there is only one blockchain, and the idea that blockchain is...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
Where many organizations get into trouble, however, is that they try to have a broad and deep knowledge in each of these areas. This is a huge blow to an organization's productivity. By automating or outsourcing some of these pieces, such as databases, infrastructure, and networks, your team can instead focus on development, testing, and deployment. Further, organizations that focus their attention on these areas can eventually move to a test-driven development structure that condenses several l...
The term "digital transformation" (DX) is being used by everyone for just about any company initiative that involves technology, the web, ecommerce, software, or even customer experience. While the term has certainly turned into a buzzword with a lot of hype, the transition to a more connected, digital world is real and comes with real challenges. In his opening keynote, Four Essentials To Become DX Hero Status Now, Jonathan Hoppe, Co-Founder and CTO of Total Uptime Technologies, shared that ...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Never mind that we might not know what the future holds for cryptocurrencies and how much values will fluctuate or even how the process of mining a coin could cost as much as the value of the coin itself - cryptocurrency mining is a hot industry and shows no signs of slowing down. However, energy consumption to mine cryptocurrency is one of the biggest issues facing this industry. Burning huge amounts of electricity isn't incidental to cryptocurrency, it's basically embedded in the core of "mini...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.