CIO Reality Check: Linux Security

The open source community might be abuzz with security discussions, but what do the CIOs of real-world companies have to say?

In our conversations, we spoke to Sam Lamonica, CIO of Rudolph and Sletten Construction, a general building contractor; Philipp Huber, CTO/COO of the UK based XCalibre Communications, a hosting firm; Clyde Williams, Infrastructure Systems Manager for Southeast Alabama Medical Center; and Walt Cornelison, Director of Information Technology for Tropitone Furniture, a manufacturer of high-end outdoor furniture. Here's how our conversation went:

From your perspective how great of a concern has security been, and how great of a concern is it at present, in an open source environment for you?

Sam Lamonica, CIO of Rudolph and Sletten Construction (SL): From experience, we are not concerned about open source in our environment any more or less than the proprietary software we utilize. For example, we've been using GroundWork Monitor Professional—an open source systems and network monitoring and management solution—since 2005, and we have yet to experience any security breaches related to it because it's open source.

Philipp Huber, CTO/COO, XCalibre Communications (PH): [A] major concern. We are often asked by our customers how we can ensure that data security is guaranteed.

Clyde Williams, Infrastructure Systems Manager, Southeast Alabama Medical Center (CW): From my perspective, and in my own opinion, open source software has enjoyed security through lack of widespread adoption. When the market share of any single open source application gets large enough, it will become a target for exploitation.

Walt Cornelison, Director of Information Technology, Tropitone Furniture (WC): Security is always a concern. I have to balance security with an ability to operate and function. I find security to be less of a concern on the Linux side. I'm pretty confident on that side of our business. We have to balance operations performance, [with] user need and security. Security cannot be so obtrusive that we cannot operate.

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