Protecting corporate information from intruders and keeping it secure when employees access it remotely are key security concerns of information technology managers. To deal with such concerns, they voted LiveSecurity 4.1 from WatchGuard Technologies Inc. of Seattle, as the Datamation Product of the Year for Security in 2000.
LiveSecurity 4.1 combines a hardware firewall and content-filtering system with a subscription security alert and updating service. The easy-to-install and maintain system, designed for small and medium-sized businesses, garnered 35.5 percent, or 100 of the 281 total votes cast.
Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.5 from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., followed closely with 32 percent, or 90 votes. The popular virus shield protects PCs and file servers from viruses. Coming in a distant third was Tripwire HQ Manager from Tripwire Inc. of Portland, Ore. The file integrity security tool received slightly over 6 percent, or 18 votes.
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It's little surprise that an Internet security tool like LiveSecurity would capture the hearts of voters. As companies move their business to the Internet and allow employees to work from remote locations over the net, security becomes their number one concern. They want to protect their business information from intruders, while allowing their employees the access they need.
Christian Byrnes, vice president and director of security at META Group Inc. of Stamford, Conn., says three trends in security emerged in the past year: privacy and regulation, e-commerce complexity, and virtual private network (VPN) deployment and safety.
As more companies conduct business over the Internet, they need to not only protect their corporate networks from outside hackers, but from malicious employees as well, says Byrnes. Companies also must create VPNs to protect their systems when remote users access them, and require employees to have and run anti-virus and firewall software at home, Byrnes says.
Osmonics, Inc., which develops and manufacturers fluid filtration products, chose LiveSecurity for many of the reasons Byrnes cites. LiveSecurity provides the Minnetonka, Minn., company with a hardware firewall, called the FireBox II, which offers the ability to closely monitor its network. It also gives Osmonics the privacy and security it needs and allows the IT staff set up a VPN for five offices, including two abroad, company officials say.
The company was concerned about someone breaking into their system through the Internet and stealing patents, says Christian Ward, Osmonics' technical lead for emerging technologies.
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Source: The Yankee Group, 1999
LiveSecurity offered everything the company was looking for at a fraction of the price of some of the larger competitors, Ward says.
"Another reason we absolutely fell in love with the thing is that it was so easy to understand," he says. "It was so intuitive. It would be ideal for a staff with limited resources in this area."
Sean Burke, director of network operations at healthcare advertising agency Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer and Associates, also praised LiveSecurity's "ease of configuration" and performance. The Columbus, Ohio, agency uses the system to protect its e-mail, extranet, Intranet, and Web-based systems for about 500 users spread throughout seven networked locations.
Cecilia Langendyk, systems administrator for Jempak Canada Inc., which produces chemicals for detergents, has Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.5 running on about 20 PCs networked throughout four locations of the Ontario-based company. The software is important to Jempak because some users still exchange information on floppy disks and are open to virus attacks from the Internet, Langendyk says.
As these companies have found, the field of security is only going to become more important, says analyst Byrnes. "Security management systems is a rapidly growing market area with tremendous growth ahead of it. It's barely started," he says.
And the hot security item for 2001?
Byrnes says to watch for "permission infrastructure" systems that manage what individuals are allowed to do. Some functions of this software include accessing Web applications, elements on a Web page, or even individual pieces of data. "Security enforcement methods are becoming part of the infrastructure where they belong," he says. "The permission infrastructure will be the last element absorbed into the operating system."
(Freelance writer Cynthia Flash covers technology and business from Bellevue, Wash. Reach her at Cynthia@flashmediaservices.com)