top of page
  • Phil Venables

Segmentation Technologies / Zero Trust

I first came across the notion of doctrine vs. structure in this depiction about the relative positioning of tanks from some blog or tweet I can’t now recall. It has stuck with me for a few months, not because I’m particularly interested in tanks, but rather because I really like this notion of thinking of doctrine (the intent of use, or overall philosophy of approach) as being something separate from structure (the thing you intend to use for that doctrinal purpose and how is it structured/built).



You can look across a whole set of spaces from technology to security and start to unpick the doctrine and structure, and position particular technologies on those axes. In doing so I find it forces you to think a bit harder about whether one set of features, technologies or products are being used in the right way. One example, below, is a quick stab at a chart for segmentation technologies (one element of, so called, zero trust architectures).


To be clear, I’m not saying this is complete or correct, it’s an illustrative example. But it is interesting to look at it this way and in particular look at what it doesn’t show. For example, I can’t think of a doctrine purist and structure neutral technology in this context. Perhaps you can? Perhaps there shouldn’t be one? Or maybe there should be and this is in fact a new technology category (if so, good luck with that, let me know what you build).


The other reason I like this approach is it does not mean that you only get to pick one technology to achieve the goal, in this case, segmentation in a zero trust context. Rather, it means you select a range of options to apply in the context of where that combination of technologies are meant to be used. Just like on a battlefield you get to pick a range of armored fighting vehicles to achieve a specific defensive or offensive outcome. But, unlike in armed conflict, we have more choice in our approach so we’re not confined to “going into battle with the army we have”.


I can imagine developing this further to include an operational overlay with the hypothesis that if there is a fit between a use case and the technologies that balances the doctrine and structure for that use case then operational effort should be optimal.


Bottom line: thinking about doctrine vs. structure appears to be a useful mental model to validate a technology’s adequacy for a particular task. In short, to know whether we are jamming a square peg into a round hole.

1,398 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The 80 / 20 Principle 

Ever since I first became familiar with the 80/20 principle, and other circumstances marked by Pareto distributions, I began to see examples of it everywhere. Naturally, I’m particularly biased to obs

Best Security Movies (and some that haven’t been made yet)

Everyone has their list of favorite security movies and I bet some are on everyone’s list. There’s also a set of movies that aren’t totally about security but have it as a big part of the story arc. M

Top Ideas and Posts from 2023

Thankfully I managed to keep up the pace of 1 post every 2 weeks throughout 2023. Just when I think I might be running out of ideas, and the backlog of topics is running low, then something always man

bottom of page