January 25, 2017

The Arc-E-Tect's Predictions for 2017 - Internet and Intranet [4/10]

The Arc-E-Tect's Prediction on Internet

It's 2017, meaning 2016 is a done deal, and most of my predictions for 2016 I made about a year ago and never got around documenting in any form have proven to be absolutely bogus. Which leads me to come up with my predictions for 2017 and properly document them. So continue your effort reading this post and hopefully you'll enjoy reading them. Unfortunately we'll have to wait for about a year to find out to what extent I got it all right, but for now, ...Internet

Why Internet? Because we're going to move into a direction where we no longer assume the world to be trustworthy and we know for sure that our systems, services and API's are being called by consumers we know or at the least are consumers within our own organisation.

Internet in, Intranet out

So the internet will be in, and no longer will we consider the intranet as the context in which our software is running. Talk with any cyber security firm and they will tell you that security has become a real issue since computers got connected. Networks are the root of all evil when it comes to viruses and the likes. The larger the networks, the bigger the problems. And with heterogeneity the number of threats only grew, probably exponentially.
Until some time ago, and in many organisations only since a while, security is no longer a network issue anymore. Why? Because we no longer know what the network is. Meaning that maybe we think that our systems are running in an isolated LAN, but with networks and interconnectivity becoming more and more complex, the concept of a LAN is just hardware, software is pretty much always connected to the internet, if not directly, it will be indirectly.

So the notion of the intranet is no longer valid when it comes to security. In 2017 we will no longer say that security will be less of an issue, because the software is only accessible from internal systems. From the intranet.

Similarly, we will drop assumptions regarding where consumers of our services will reside. The consumer will no longer be assumed to be in the same network segment, or a segment nearby. So performance, latency, throughput, and related requirements cannot and will not be handled by assuming that the consumer is 'close' to the provider. Something we already know because we have been sold hybrid clouds by our hosting partners. In 2017 we will no longer make any assumptions as to where our systems run, our software will be location agnostic.

Then there's the matter of the user. The user is not to be trusted. Period. Which means that the user has to be identified, authenticated and authorised at all times. And we won't assume that she's on the same network when she accesses a system. That's context and we assume the worst.

So basically, what this prediction means is that we will systematically assume the worst when we develop new business solutions and create more value through our IT solutions. And to do this effectively, we assume that our systems are connected to the internet, accessed via the internet and threats are coming from the internet.

Will it make our systems more complex to develop? Probably, but only slightly. An important reason for complexity only to increase slightly is in the previous predictions. But the real benefit is that our systems become more changeable, adaptable, usable and robust. All aspects that generate value for our business, provide the software exposes the right behaviour.

One other important thing to mention here is the fact that the internet does rely on pretty cool standards, solutions, guidelines and the like. Things like DNS allows for logical addressing, REST and SOAP allow for well defined interfaces that are decoupled from implementations, resulting in real Consumer Driven Contract thinking. HTTPS is sufficiently secure means of transport, evaporating the need for VPN based solutions using proprietary solutions. Etc.

So why 'Internet in'? Because finally the intranet is out.

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