The impending death of the traditional Intranet

bodium castle fortress

In medieval times castles were typically protected by a moat or something akin to it like an open ditch. These fortifications served a purpose to be certain but, over time they were found to be dated an ineffective as tactics changed. Nowadays, how often do you see a working castle with a moat used to defend against barbarians hordes?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Castles don't scale.

Certain technologies are destined for the rubbish bin much in the same vein. We’ve seen things pass into the mists of time such as token ring. Just a few years ago there were articles about how Intranets were all fine. Nothing wrong. “No evolutionary leap forward for intranets nor enterprise social technology is about to occur, nor is there an impending death blow.” *reference.

Jump forward to today and we find that this idea has expired in transit. In a brief two year span we’ve gone from “this is fine” to a new way of approaching the idea of Intranets.

We have to always be aware of shifting technologies and we have to remain cognizant. When we get entrenched in a single way of doing things we run the risk of falling into the “box huggers” category. We need to be better job of learning to adapt and change from the way we have always done things. To put a fine point on it, in the news today FireEye CEO David DeWalt was quoted as saying,

"The shift from appliance-based solutions to subscriptions and cloud-based security is happening faster than even we anticipated," he said.

He was removed as CEO not long afterwards and will be replaced by Kevin Mandia.

This brings to mind the Microsoft advertising campaign that trumpeted “to the cloud”. This was a marketing effort in 2010. Here we are in 2016 and this is finally becoming a conversation that has head nods as opposed to “we could never put our $system in the cloud.” This has become the cost of doing business. The upside for smaller businesses is that the barrier to entry has dropped. Cloud computing has become the great equalizer.

We have the ability today to have all of our systems in a cloud environment. From email and document collaboration to databases and financial systems, don't look now but, we've already moved. The historical way of deploying hub and spoke models, or castle keeps, has finally arrived at it's denouement.

Security jobs aren't going to go away anytime soon. As a result of this shift in thinking from protecting the walls of the castle in a traditional sense we need to do a far better job of leveraging encryption, authentication and authorization. We need to pay better attention to the finer details.

This move from the traditional way of doing network topologies to putting our internal systems into the cloud isn’t a far fetched idea. This is a move that is long overdue and something that we can do today. The days of the legacy intranet are approaching their natural conclusion.

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