Trust is the New Water

Trust – as a value, concept and corporate cultural cornerstone – is deeply woven into AEM’s DNA. When I was contemplating the hiring of a new senior director of statistics last year, a strongly demonstrable character trait of trustworthiness was foremost in my mind. And I’m delighted to say our new senior director certainly possesses that trait – you rock Mike!

What makes trust so invaluable now, perhaps more so than ever before, is that we do business in such a compromised climate. A little while back I read through a lengthy article in the Washington Post regarding the 5G revolution (5G = fifth-generation cellular wireless, and we had an excellent presentation on this at our last Annual Conference). I promptly shared it with a colleague, who immediately sent back some articles that covered the massive security holes that exist within the 5G standard in great detail, partially as carryovers from unsecured holes in the 4G framework. Here’s a good example from Threatpost (you’ll need to use an updated browser like Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to view this article properly). My colleague also reminded me of how trust (or lack thereof) has played a major role in the U.S.'s response to the European Union’s rush toward 5G and the their potential reliance on questionable Chinese suppliers such as Huawei in order to effectuate the change.

We barely had time to acknowledge the massive Denial of Service attacks (DDoS) being leveraged off of IoT-connected devices before we started heralding in the next shiny technology item like 5G. As other tech industry experts acknowledge, the promise of 5G is there. But who is really paying attention to pre-planning to address the pitfalls? As the Threadpost article’s author, Tara Seals, notes, state and federal regulatory efforts to address pitfalls are lagging behind the heralding and push by the 5G carriers to introduce the service to consumers, even as the infrastructure necessary to support the protocol gets rushed into place.

In short, from an IT security perspective, while dwelling in an insecure present we rush toward an even more compromised future. We still have massive data breaches (for an ongoing, updated list check out this site). As I assume you all know, at this point we also have massive misinformation being threaded through social media, most notably through sites like Facebook, which responded partially with this communication to the world. So trust, as much as we can ascertain, is quite the precious commodity.

As technology pitfalls are recognized, so are solutions to combat these trust issues. I’ve talked about them in past blog posts, such as the inherent security improvements in blockchain functionality and quantum cryptography. And advances continue here – for example, a quantum cryptographic connection was established by four participants in an experiment as noted here this past December. Not a small breakthrough, given that only two participants had managed this connection in the past, and in business we live in a state of human connectivity with no upper bound. In other words, I need to be able to have secure connections with an uncapped number of folks at any given time simultaneously. But are the solutions keeping up with the problems? I have my doubts. And you should, too.

I believe it was T. Boone Pickens who said that water is the new oil in terms of being the most contested resource. In my opinion, the most valuable, hard-to-establish and difficult-to-maintain resource in the future will be trust.

Or, to put it another way, trust is the new water.

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