One of the most esteemed political figures of the nineteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote these words in a time when the American experiment was new:
“Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.”
This sentiment, from de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, can also be summed up in many other ways.
The Duality of Freedom
Freedom, as so many pundits would say, is messy. It is chaotic. But it is also, above all, “hard to learn how to use.”
It’s this kind of wording that so well describes the new tools that today’s business leaders have been given. In just a few quick years, we’ve received the glut of cloud services and neat new big data mining systems that are now driving business. As if from the Gods, we have opened up our arms, and a brand new way of doing business has fallen down, quickly changing everything from real estate to retail. But with these great tools comes great responsibility – and each executive now had to be a kind of tech wizard just to figure it out.
The New Wild West
As for security, the new global Internet in which we conduct business is, in a very real sense, the new “Wild West.” Just as the horse-and-wagon era bandits robbed stagecoaches at will, black hats, cyberthieves and malware inventors roam the landscape of the collective enterprise network, reaching out in code, stealing key data and wreaking havoc on systems.
Many of today’s mid-career professionals remember the almost amiable feeling many people had toward “hacking” when the practice was new and affected business and government in a less profound way: it was often seen as “kids being kids,” with prominent hackers, in real life and fiction, living in their mother’s’ basement.
Today, we’ve dropped this pretense, realizing that those behind cyberattacks are much more likely to operate from a position of power – that many of them are crossing international lines, and that what they want matters. The disparate group frequently labeled simplistically as “hackers” are feared with an abstract kind of fear.
That’s because battening down the hatches is so hard – mainly because of the freedoms that we enjoy online.
Cybercrime and the Global Internet
The global Internet on which all of this activity goes on is inherently resistant to regulation. It’s a place where it’s hard, or in many cases impossible, to build walls. To put it a different way, we deal with danger on the global digital network because of its freedom, and the freedom of each of us to navigate it unchecked.
Nor is it possible for individual companies to do their own “jimmy fixes” to wall off their operations against cybercrime. Small businesses have historically operated on the principle of resourcefulness: ask anyone who has invested in their first restaurant or café. But with cybersecurity, the tools and resources that are needed are pretty much collaborative: few companies really have the internal power to put adequate work and money into developing better security systems.
In this free, chaotic environment, SentinelOne has built tools that are not “walls” or “barriers” – instead, our endpoint protection tools look preemptively for danger, through the principles of machine learning and behavior analysis. We help companies to seek out threats and remove them. In the dynamic digital environment in which today’s companies operate, this is absolutely the way to compete from a position of safety, to protect systems from data breaches, and to get peace of mind when there’s so much troubling news out there in the business world. Ask SentinelOne about how to support business operations with robust, pre-emptive security solutions for 2016 and beyond.