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Safely leapfrogging the perimeter firewall can enhance innovation and provide the right
balance of access and security.
In 2007, the Motorola information security team started a project to find better ways to protect key information assets while also enabling employees to be more innovative. First, we changed the way we looked at firewalls. The perimeter firewall has been a primary tool for protecting networks, enabling appropriate connections to the outside and controlling unauthorized traffic in and out of the enterprise. While providing protection, this also creates barriers to the kind of ad hoc, unstructured and unpredictable needs for communication that are imperative in the age of mobility.
So we implemented a novel security concept called enablement zones (E-zones), a logical collection of users, software applications and systems that have similar need for connectivity and protection. They embrace the need for increased protection without suppressing innovation and mobility. E-zones facilitate sharing of information with mobile employees, business partners and customers, while improving the protection of critical data. For the more than 65,000 individuals in 50 countries, E-zones eliminate the traditional corporate firewall perimeter and historical friction that security compliance generated. A business unit, department or functional unit can support any number of E-zones, and there can be any number of systems per zone. E-zones can be short-term or permanent.
This was first published in October 2008