New Ways to Approach Security in a Web 2.0 World

Web 2.0 technologies have ushered in a new age of security threats. Brian Foster, vice president of product management with Symantec, shares his insight on what you need to do to safeguard your company in today's business environment

Business isn't what it used to be.

Connectivity is driving increased mobility, online interaction, and collaboration. Communication is the foundation of business. Employees are scattered, and they use multiple devices and applications at multiple locations. Collaboration is enabling new levels of productivity, blurring the lines between end users and enterprises. Transactions, and the sensitive information they include, are moving online. In this new Web 2.0 world, people are the perimeter.

Unfortunately, hackers and cybercriminals are keeping pace in this new domain. Today's attackers are increasingly sophisticated and organized. In fact, they have begun to adopt methods similar to traditional software development and business practices. As security measures are developed and implemented to protect computers and the data stored on and transmitted over them, attackers are adapting new techniques and strategies to circumvent them. And, as attack activity has become more profit-driven, many aspects of it have become professionalized and commercialized. In many ways, today's attacker tools are a reflection of a burgeoning underground economy that requires specialized tools to meet the demands of a highly lucrative industry.

Worse yet, outsider threats are only part of the problem. Enterprises are also vulnerable to threats from within the organization, whether from a disgruntled employee who steals sensitive customer information or a distracted contractor who misplaces a laptop filled with confidential but unencrypted data.

Clearly, in such an interconnected business world, yesterday's approach to security is no longer effective. Just as new ways of doing business were ushered in with Web 2.0, next-generation security practices must be adopted to ensure a more enlightened era of enterprise security. Call it Security 2.0; an evolution in security that focuses not simply on protecting systems and keeping hackers out but also on securing information and interactions. It takes a more dynamic view of security, with technologies and processes that adapt to the reputation or behavior of devices, people, and applications. Policy drives Security 2.0, technology enables it, and operations strengthen it.

Protection Policy

By design, security policies document the rules by which an organization defines a base level of desired security. In a Web 2.0 world, security policies must focus not simply on protecting devices but on securing information. After all, the primary purpose of the devices and systems that comprise an IT infrastructure is to carry and contain the organization's most valuable asset: its information.

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