Online economy drives network security beyond IT

Corporate network security in the Internet economy has gone beyond technology to become a business issue as organisations struggle to manage the risk of giving key stakeholders access to business-critical information while keeping intruders out.

Graham Penn, senior analyst at IDC, said: "With security a critical issue in the Internet age, user organisations have no choice but to implement coordinated security management solutions."

To that end, Tivoli Systems has formed a security business unit designed to help companies take the step beyond point product solutions towards a more integrated approach to keeping networks free of malicious attacks while managing access policies.

Steve Burke, general manager of Tivoli Systems Australia and New Zealand, explained the difficulty facing IT professionals in implementing a cohesive security solution, saying "security technology is typically bought on a product-by-product basis with up to 150 discrete products existing in a large enterprise, each with individual security policies and event notification".

"It has become a real business problem establishing and then managing access rights for customers, employees and partners."

Without integration, point solutions such as intrusion detection systems are difficult to monitor properly, as event reporting becomes overloaded with false alarms, Burke said.

"Network administrators have admitted to us they often turn intrusion detection products off as they generate too many false-positives (false event alarms)," he said.

The Tivoli security business unit is aimed at solving these security challenges by combining the security expertise, products and key personnel from Tivoli, IBM and Dascom - a security management company acquired by IBM in 1999.

Penn said IBM claims it is already 12 months ahead of the competition by offering Tivoli's integrated security solutions, a lead it is looking to extend with a two-pronged approach.

"IBM has made the Tivoli solutions open to help speed them towards becoming a de facto industry standard," he said.

"Additionally, the products and solutions are competitively priced to ensure speedy uptake."

In addition to discrete security products, Tivoli offers a management component to pull security pieces together into one integrated console which enables organisations to eliminate false-positives and identify real security threats, Burke said.

Although Australian companies have yet to integrate their security products using Tivoli's security business unit, Burke expects the company's experience with multi-nationals such as General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank and Bank of America to kick start local interest.

"Organisations in finance, telecommunications and retail will be the first to take advantage of giving their network administrators cohesive security management," Burke said.

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