Art of War Infinite Variety Accellis Technology Group

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is among the most famous works on military strategy. Over the coming weeks, Accellis will adapt many of these timeless lessons to the modern cybersecurity theater. By understanding fundamentals of security and military theory, firms will be in a better position to respond to these threats.

Quote

Sun Tzu said, “…there are not more than [three] primary colors…yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been [sic] seen.”

Lesson

Indirect tactics are inexhaustible; they are infinitely variable. They are something of a fountain of youth to firms who take security seriously. As Henry Hazlitt points out, “…every object has an infinite number of attributes, depending on the aspect we take of it.”¹ By simply adding a time-out feature to the device login screen, Apple sparked a war with the FBI.

Life can seem paradoxical to the incautious observer. Take for instance that as humans we are, simultaneously, all the same, but different. The way red, blue and yellow are the same (colors), and yet different (hues).² So, too, security can seem paradoxical. On the one hand, you want to simplify your network topology to reduce likelihood of data leakage. Yet on the other hand, you want to make the network topology more complex, which can and does serve the same purpose. Paradox? Not really.

There is no one way to design your network or to react to a security incident, just as there is no one way to live life, or to eat, or to sing. The variety in methods can and will do quite well. It is timely to remember that security is not a moment, it’s a process. The best security process leverages defense in depth, in other words, setting up defensive fortifications so that they can defend each other. This tactic of multi-fortification creates an incredible, limitless variety of security controls, meaning malicious hacking will become exponentially more difficult.

Next Up

Our next posts will include lessons drawn from the following famous quotes:

  • Sun Tzu said, “…he wins battles by making no mistakes…making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory.”
  • Sun Tzu said, “…supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
  • Sun Tzu said, “…the clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy.”

 


¹ Hazlitt, Henry. Thinking as a Science. E.P. Dutton & Company, 1916.

² Moondance, Wolf. Sacred Voices: Native American Teachings from the Council of Protected Words. Speech, Nightingale Conant, October 13, 2014.