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In information security, de-perimeterisation[1] is the removal of a boundary between an organisation and the outside world. De-perimeterisation is protecting an organization's systems and data on multiple levels by using a mixture of encryption, secure computer protocols, secure computer systems and data-level authentication, rather than the reliance of an organization on its network boundary to the Internet. Successful implementation of a de-perimeterised strategy within an organization implies that the perimeter, or outer security boundary, was removed.

Metaphorically, de-perimeterisation is similar to the historic dismantling of city walls to allow the free flow of goods and information. To achieve this there was a shift from city states to nation states and the creation of standing armies, so that city boundaries were extended to surround multiple cities.

De-perimeterisation was coined by Jon Measham, a former employee of the UK’s Royal Mail in a research paper, and subsequently used by the Jericho Forum of which the Royal Mail was a founding member.[2]

Potential benefits[edit]

Claims made for removal of this border include the freeing up of business-to-business transactions, the reduction in cost and the ability for a company to be more agile. Taken to its furthest extent an organisation could operate securely directly on the Internet.

Operating without a hardened border frees organizations to collaborate, utilizing solutions based on a Collaboration Oriented Architecture framework.


More recently the term is being used in the context of a result of both entropy and the deliberate activities of individuals within organizations to usurp perimeters often for well-intentioned reasons. The latest Jericho Forum paper named "Collaboration Oriented Architecture" refers to the trend of de-perimeterisation as a problem:

The traditional electronic boundary between a corporate (or ‘private’) network and the Internet is breaking down in the trend which we have called de-perimeterisation.[3]

Variations of the term have been used to describe aspects of de-perimeterisation such as:

  • "You’ve already been de-perimeterised" to describe the Internet worms and viruses which are designed to by-pass the border using web and e-mail.[4]
  • "re-perimeterisation" to describe the interim step of moving perimeters to protection groups of computer servers or a data centre – rather than the perimeter.
  • "Macro-Perimeterisation" the act of moving the security perimeter into "the cloud", see Security As A Service, examples of such security services in the cloud are exemplified by email cleaning services or proxy filtering services provided by towers in the internet.
  • "micro-perimeterisation" moving the security perimeter to surround the data itself, interim steps might include moving the perimeter around individual computer systems or an individual application (consisting of a cluster of computers).


  1. ^ American spelling: de-perimeterization.FAQ
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Jericho Forum's Collaboration Oriented Architecture Paper Collaboration Oriented Architecture paper
  4. ^ Joanne Cummings "Security in a world without borders" Network World 27 September 2004 "Face it, you've already been de-perimeterized. The question now is, what are you going to do about it?"

External links[edit]