Trust but Verify: A Timeless Principle Applied to Cybersecurity

February 29, 2024

"Trust but Verify," a maxim that has crisscrossed history, finds its place at the heart of cybersecurity practices today, and its critical application in Security Service Edge (SSE) implementations.

Historical Perspective of Trust but Verify

Famously adopted by President Ronald Reagan during nuclear disarmament discussions with the Soviet Union, "Trust but Verify" underscores the importance of not just accepting promises at face value but also confirming their validity through evidence.

Relevance in Today's Digital Landscape

This principle is more relevant than ever. The cyber world is inherently invisible and intangible, where threats can emerge from any corner, masked by the very technology that's supposed to protect us. Trust in this context is not just given; it must be earned and continually reassured through rigorous verification.

Applying 'Trust but Verify' to SSE Implementations

SSE offers sophisticated security services directly from the cloud, promising to shield organizations from a myriad of cyber threats. Here's how the "Trust but Verify" principle becomes crucial:

  1. Vendor Promises: Organizations trust their SSE providers to deliver robust security solutions. However, it's imperative to verify that these solutions are performing as promised, effectively protecting against the full spectrum of cyber threats.
  2. Policy Enforcement: SSE involves setting policies that control access to network resources. While organizations must trust their employees and users, they also need mechanisms to verify that policies are being followed correctly and are not inadvertently allowing security breaches.
  3. System Updates and Patches: Regular updates are essential for the health of any cybersecurity system. While providers are trusted to maintain these updates, organizations must have processes to verify that updates are applied promptly and effectively, closing any potential security gaps.
  4. Response to New Threats: The cyber landscape is continuously evolving, with new threats emerging regularly. Trusting an SSE solution involves the expectation that it can adapt to new threats. Verification, in this case, means ensuring the system is truly evolving and that new types of attacks are being effectively countered.
  5. Compliance and Regulations: SSE must comply with a plethora of regulations and standards. While providers may assert compliance, organizations have the responsibility to verify that these claims are accurate and that the SSE's operations are within regulatory boundaries.


In the context of SSE, "Trust but Verify" is not just a suggestion—it's a necessity. This principle is essential for maintaining the integrity of cybersecurity measures in a rapidly changing digital world. It encourages a proactive stance, prompting continuous verification and assurance of security practices.

As we continue our exploration of SSE, we encourage you to reflect on this principle and how it's embedded in your cybersecurity strategy.