Best Practices for Zero Trust

Ed Koehler Distinguished Principal Engineer Published 2 Oct 2020

Recently there has been a lot of industry buzz around the term ‘Zero Trust’. But what exactly does that mean? I do not like to tease hairs so let’s go right to the concept. What is zero? Well, at face value in the macro world we can say that if I have no apples, I have zero apples. Fair enough. But to the mathematician zero is a bit more slippery concept. From their perspective zero is a point of reference. Nothing more, and it can be chosen arbitrarily according to the demands of a certain exercise. This means that ‘zero’ is a grey area in mathematics. Many folks are taken back by this concept but some straight forward examples exist.

To prove this out let’s use a ruler as an example. You can divide the ruler into centimeters and millimeters and so forth down to micro and nanometers and further. But you never hit zero. What you will hit is Planck’s Constant (6.62607004 × 10-34 m2 kg / s) which indicates that zero is an abstract concept that we impose. (Note that both mass and speed are noted, which indicates the dissolution of macro space and time.)

So, you might ask why the big dissertation on zero that borders onto the realm of philosophy? Well, it is the concept of ‘Zero’ trust. What does it mean? Does it have an absolute value or is it similar to the true mathematical concept that we impose the value on demands of our situation?

This is an interesting conversation and you will hear a lot more from me on this subject in the future in as far as what Extreme Networks is doing in this area. But in the meantime, check out the session on “Best Practices for Zero Trust” that I held during Extreme Connect Virtual 2020. I’m sure it will bring ‘food for thought’ if you are hungry enough.

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