Broad Spectrum Security Force Multipliers and Market Adoption

Broad spectrum force multipliers amplify the amount of work involved to produce more output.

Examples of force multipliers in our daily lives are pulleys, levers, wheels, axles, gears, ramps, wedges, screws and hydraulics - such as brake lines on automobiles - that exert more force for the level of effort. Some of the more exotic forms of force multipliers are power plants that covert one form of latent energy into another through the use of machines that do the conversion work.

What about digital security?

What are some of the force multipliers - agents that amplify the work done to produce more output - of digital security?

A few of the many force multipliers of digital security include:

  • Active Directory
  • Anomaly detection
  • Antivirus and anti-malware systems
  • Certificate key management systems
  • OAuth and OpenID
  • SIEM


What's interesting about all these - and all other - digital security force multipliers is they became adoption in the market because they go beyond the automation of work steps and procedures related to digital security and are used to multiply the effect that can be achieved by using them. Some went onto great market success while others became marginally successful or caught up as subsets of broader offerings.

For example, Active Directory amplifies the digital identity and entitlements associated with users, application and what types of IT assets and resources are accessible and what types of operations can be performed on IT assets. And it does this by marrying AA&A - authentication, access entitlements and audit - to a directory system that ties together users, software and assets of the environment registered in and accessible through the directory.

Other examples of this specific kind of force multiplier include Kerberos, single sign-on, VPN remote access, dial-up remote access, NFS, Banyan Vines, Cisco IOS, NetWare and a wide variety of other identification and access management (IAM) systems: all of which are force multipliers.

What is interesting to note about IAM force multipliers is they automate processes across two of digital security's process boundaries, as follows:

  • Identification
  • Protection, containment and isolation

Another example of a security force multiplier is antivirus which has been taking a bit of a reputation hit but is still an important tool of layered client-server security. Antivirus is an interesting case of a force multiplier because its core focus is on detecting the presence of computer viruses - traditionally using signature files - and then taking action to respond to what its scanning engines find.

Behind the scenes the providers of antivirus software services - they are all Cloud services nowadays - identify new viruses in the wild, validation the identification of viruses from customer events, and provide services to recover data and computing systems. And, these systems provide protection in real-time for known virus threats.

Antivirus operates across all the critical process boundaries, which include:

  • Identification
  • Protection, containment and isolation
  • Detection and analysis
  • Response
  • Recovery

Antivirus is the one security automation tool operating across the end-to-end processes of digital security.

What is interesting to note is the widespread adoption of both IAM systems and antivirus in the market over many years. Although it is probable some computing environments are not using one or both of these, it is rare to find computing environments that are not using both of these broad-spectrum process automations for digital security.

The lesson for entrepreneurs and general managers of large established technology product and service providers obvious: the market rewards broad-spectrum force multipliers for digital security.

Providers of single-purpose automations should take heed, but not throw in the towel because there is always a market for plug-ins, APIs and microservices.

But for mainstream success, broad spectrum force multipliers are the rings to grab.

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