Flipping the Problem of Trust Management

In previous posts, we explored the pillars of data trust, what trust means to diverse stakeholders, and lessons we can take from taming distributed identity management. It is now time to address the growing crisis of managing trust across the fractured IT landscape to safeguard the most sensitive asset in any business: data.

What’s the solution to this familiar and increasingly challenging problem? Flip the problem upside down. It did not happen overnight, but some companies are already on their way.

A few years ago, several global enterprises began pioneering this idea internally and with their largest information technology vendors. As these ideas matured from applied research into production successes, a new paradigm was created: the concept of establishing a system of record for how data trust is defined and managed within the cross-environment information technology landscape. As the Chief Information Officer of a major financial services enterprise told me while reviewing this post,

“We had no hope of getting this right in 50+ systems. Our best bet was to get this right in one place and make it very easy for the rest our vendors to make use of that knowledge just in time.”

Ionic has been working with like-minded visionaries over the past few years to build a distributed platform architecture that can be trusted for the creation and retrieval of keys with low latency, scalability, and resiliency for global businesses. Machina protects data at any granularity—from a single bit to an individual field to an entire file—from the point of creation through consumption by using multiple (sometimes dozens) keys. This granularity supports equally precise policy decisions that consider the identity of the user, the context of the data, and the circumstances of each request. It is truly data-centric protection, traveling with the data as it moves across technology silos.

Perhaps most significantly, to address the rising need to manage trust across multiple information technology environments and systems, Ionic made these platform capabilities portable. Developers can integrate our SDK, Machina Tools, with a few simple lines of code, taking full advantage of the same security, privacy, accountability, and integrity used by some of the world’s largest organizations. With common data-handling capabilities thus instrumented, enterprises can write “one policy to rule them all” and ensure consistent, predictable, and simple treatment of sensitive and highly-regulated data.

When organizations remove human-scale gates from machine-scale opportunities, productivity soars and the pace of innovation dramatically accelerates. Consider the progress made over the past three decades in areas such as internet-enabled federated communication and commerce, to mobile and as-a-service revolutions enabled by the success of IAM platforms, to today’s rise of the digital enterprise, where data translates directly to growth.

This next wave of innovation and growth is poised to be the biggest yet. It will only be achieved through open collaboration and focused effort by an interconnected ecosystem of stakeholders, emboldened by the promise of consistent, predictable, and simple cross-environment data trust at scale. We should all be excited by the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead!

Part 4/4 Founder’s Blog Series: Trust Management


This is a long-form version of Adam Ghetti’s blog, posted originally by the World Economic Forum