What Are the First Three Revolutions in Cybersecurity, and Why Should You Care?

Filed Under: Resources

You’ve probably heard of the industrial revolutions, but what about cybersecurity revolutions?

In fact, the rise of digital technology (and along with it, cybersecurity) is considered by many to be the fourth industrial revolution. 

Within the cybersecurity world, there are also major milestones that can be considered cybersecurity revolutions. Keep reading to find out what the first three revolutions in cybersecurity are, and what they mean for you and your business.

The First Three Revolutions in Cybersecurity Explained

1. Cybersecurity becomes integral to physical security

The first revolution in the way we, as a collective society, think about cybersecurity is when we started to think about cybersecurity as a crucial component to physical security.

While there isn’t one specific moment we can point to to say: “this is when cybersecurity became integral to physical security,” there have been concerns about major cyberattacks affecting physical security going back to the 90s, with concerns growing greatly since about 1999.

For example, competing nations can employ cyberattacks to gain access to and/or tamper with each other’s defense systems, which puts a country’s physical security at risk in the event of military conflict.

In the business world, enterprises worry about the physical security of their sensitive data, vital systems, and finances, which can be stolen or otherwise compromised by hackers via cyberattacks.

In short, the first revolution in cybersecurity is when it actually became something that is constantly on our minds in terms of overall security, especially at high levels of governments and businesses.

2. The Internet of Things rapidly expands

The next cybersecurity revolution is a natural progression of the first, and has to do with the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), especially from the late 2000s and onwards.

The IoT is a term coined in 1999, but it’s generally agreed that the IoT was truly born around 2008-2009, when more things and objects became connected to the Internet than people.

In other words, the second revolution in cybersecurity occurred when things connected to the Internet became so prevalent in society that there were more devices online than there were people in the world, thus providing hackers with unprecedented targets for cyberattacks.

Since so many of the things and objects connected to the Internet had relatively low security, cybersecurity professionals were spurred by this milestone to envision and develop new ways to secure all the devices that were now a part of the IoT.

3. Risk surfaces for cyberattacks become far larger

In cybersecurity, the risk surface is the amount of digital infrastructure that cyberattacks can potentially target. 

In the 10+ years since the second revolution in cybersecurity, we have experienced the rise in mobile. People working for businesses and organizations are connecting to their online systems and infrastructures from mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, in higher numbers than ever, which presents new challenges in cybersecurity.

Before mobile took over, organizations operated on closed and controlled infrastructure, which was much easier to secure. But now, with so many people connecting from different devices and locations, and over different networks, risk surfaces for cyberattacks have been vastly extended.

And, since the global pandemic hit in 2020, the extension of risk surfaces has been even greater due to the sheer volume of people working from home and other remote locations over the last couple of years. 

This is a trend that is likely to continue, pandemic or not, so we are currently living in an age where the risks of cyberattacks are higher than they’ve ever been and will continue to grow further.

How Enterprises Can Adapt To the New Cybersecurity Landscape

It should be clear by now that cybersecurity is something you need to worry about more than ever, especially if you’re an enterprise stakeholder or IT professional.

So, what can you do to secure your company’s systems and data in these times of growing cyberattack risk surfaces?

A Modern Cybersecurity Solution: Secure Access Service Edge Technology (SASE)

Legacy cybersecurity solutions, such as VPNs, are quickly becoming outdated and inefficient at protecting organizations against advanced modern cyberattacks.

But SASE is revolutionizing the way enterprises secure resources, data, and users in their open and dispersed networks.

SASE solutions combine software-defined edge networking, user-focused authentication, and access control with seamless integration across the cloud to secure enterprise systems more effectively than any legacy cybersecurity solution can.

Rather than allowing employees to access whole systems via passwords, which are easy to hack, SASE technology strictly enforces network access based on user identities. This means that enterprise infrastructure is much more secure because people are only allowed access to certain systems and applications on a very strict need-to basis.

For distributed teams, SASE cybersecurity technology allows everyone to access only what they need to work, from anywhere in the world and from different devices and networks, while keeping risk surfaces for cyberattacks small.

In Conclusion

The first three revolutions in cybersecurity have brought us to where we are today — cyberattacks are a more present threat than ever in the minds of organization and business stakeholders and IT teams.

Fortunately, cybersecurity continues to evolve, and the next revolution involves the implementation of SASE technology to protect enterprise infrastructure from a growing number of cyber threats.

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