Is Proximity-Based Security Our Last Line of (Cyber) Defense?

by | Network Security

2017 was a record year for many reasons. Amazing records were broken: we saw more green energy produced around the world and more capital invested in tech startups than ever before.

Other broken records were a bit scarier and more foreboding.

Cyber-security firm Gemalto reported that in the first six months of 2017, there were over 1.9 billion (yes, billion) digital records lost or stolen worldwide, an increase of nearly 180% over the entire year of 2016!

Cyber-crime is irrefutably on a massive rise, and our existing security tools are proving woefully unable to keep our data safe. In February of this year, Equifax reported that as many as 2.4 million additional Americans may have had their data stolen in a 2017 security breach that had already compromised the data of as many as 145 million Americans.

Why does it seem so easy for hackers to get past the most elaborate (and expensive) security systems in the world?

How is it that, despite the brightest minds in tech tirelessly working to improve our data protection, cyber-crime gets exponentially worse every year?

The answer is obvious, and painfully so. It lies in one of the more amazing developments in modern history.

Simply put, our whole world has become digitized and connected. What stands between hackers and your data is just a sequence of 1’s and 0’s. The problem isn’t so much stopping hackers from building a bridge to your data. The real challenge IT administrators face is managing the public’s expectations that they can connect anywhere, at any time, to get the information they need (NOW!) and still have a robust defense system that protects data from the bad guys.

That’s a problem.

Last week at a cyber-security conference in San Antonio, an FBI expert noted that the perimeter is essentially dead. With BYOD and phishing, there is simply no way to keep all threats outside the perimeter.

So, what’s the solution? Is there any way to truly protect our data from the nefarious forces that seek to do us harm?

What if instead, we focused on one principle: Keep the data in.

Most solutions to problems of this scale require new developments and innovation. We believe the answer to this question is both simple and requires a bit of a step back in time, at least in terms of thinking.

Consider this: Why didn’t the ancient Romans conquer Australia? Sure, it’s likely they didn’t know it was there… but more importantly, because they couldn’t reach it.

Why is a moat still an effective means of defending a building? Because it restricts access to a narrower, more controlled point.

Proximity-based security functions much the same way. We call it HOPsphere Radius Security. The idea is simple: If you restrict the distance or locations from which a system or part of the network can be accessed, you instantly cut off most potential attacks.


Network administrators need to ask themselves different questions. For instance, does a financial database need to be accessible to people outside the company campus?

Many people need reports via PDF, Excel, or a web site. A few people need update access to the information. Almost nobody needs access to the database itself.

So why do the network settings on the machine allow global connectivity?

Perhaps, given the critical nature of the data, access should be restricted to the building it’s in. Or to go a step further, it could be restricted to access only from the rack that houses it.

No network security method can guarantee 100% protection from all cyber-threats. But HOPsphere Radius Security provides a new layer of security and is a powerful complement to your existing enterprise network security tools. 

By analyzing and protecting data from the inside out, HOPsphere Radius Security provides a powerful addition to your arsenal in the war against cybercrime. And in that war we need all the tools we can use.

To discover how HOPspere Radius Security can eliminate threats to your critical information, contact us at [email protected].


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Ben Haley is the senior vice president of Engineering and co-founder of HOPZERO. During his over 30 years’ experience in software engineering, Ben has led network and application efforts for high performance, reliability, and security programs at multiple firms. As founding development director for NetQoS/CA Technologies, Ben led all development work and formed a research team to review performance and security anomalies. Most recently, he served as a lead architect for several key projects at MaxPoint (now Valassis), a leading digital marketing technology company.