Cybersecurity concerns driving expected fragmentation of global internet

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As the IT industry heads into the last year of the first decade of the 21st century it looks like one of the greatest achievements of the previous century is about to fragment. Russia just announced it has completed a successful test where it took all the systems that make up RuNet off the worldwide Internet without any disruption to the services under its control. Chances are high other countries with strong centralized governments will soon follow suit.

The fragmentation of the Internet, however, is not going to be limited to national boundaries. A recent survey of more than 5,000 members of the ISACA technology association finds 73% of respondents think it is “likely” or “very likely” end users will soon opt to pay to access a subset of the Internet that has been secured by some entity on their behalf.

While most end-users would probably prefer that the Internet itself be made more secure, the fact remains that any such effort even if possible would take a decade or more to complete. Faced with that obstacle, IT professionals clearly expect alternative Internet services to emerge. The simple truth is most organizations and end-users are finding it too difficult to securely employ the Internet in its current state on their own.

For example, a recent survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers conducted by SOTI Inc., a provider of tools for managing devices connected to the Internet, finds more than a quarter (27%) of surveyed enterprises admitted that they either do not currently comply with national or global mobile device protection regulations or are completely unaware if they do. Over 33% of respondents also revealed employees are still using old equipment that only serves to increase the risk of data leakages and data breaches. Not surprisingly, more than a third (31%) acknowledged their organization had experienced a data breach within the past two years.

Even when organizations are willing to invest in cybersecurity frustrations abound. A survey of 480 security decision-makers at enterprise organizations in North America and Europe conducted by STANLEY Security, a provider of IT integration services that is an arm of Stanley Black & Decker, finds only 26% would recommend their current security provider to a friend or colleague. The top five pain points identified by the survey are:

  • Value for money
  • Overall reliability
  • Overall customer service
  • Quality of products and services
  • Understanding of business and security needs

Of course, it’s not at all clear that isolating segments of the Internet is a silver cybersecurity bullet. In general, such services should prove to be more secure, but as any cybersecurity professional knows there is no such thing as perfect security. However, given the current state of computing, it should come as no surprise that governments, companies and end-users alike are willing to sacrifice some liberty in the name of security regardless of concerns such as censorship or rate throttling. There are simply too many places on the Internet today that are deemed too dangerous to visit. The challenge now is to make sure the entities providing access to “walled Internet gardens” are doing so in the most transparent manner possible.

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