Perry: CA must raise security profile

Computer Associates International (CA) wants to raise its profile as a security vendor in 2003 and cash in on the trend toward comprehensive and simplified security management software, according to Simon Perry, vice president and security strategist at CA.

Increased numbers of security applications coupled with a bad economy have spurred the demand for unified security management products, Perry said during an interview at the Infosecurity show in New York City where he presented a keynote speech Thursday.

"The security market is moving in a trend from disparate point products from a million vendors ... to a point where management of all those solutions is becoming a large economic drain for companies, so the push towards interoperability is going to be key," Perry said.

Change in the security management space has happened a lot faster than expected, Perry said.

"Three years ago, we were projecting that unified security management solutions would get their legs at the end of 2003," Perry said, citing internal CA marketing projections. "The last 12 or 18 months have accelerated spending and interest in user provisioning and unified security management, so where we thought the market would be at the end of 2003 it is now."

Instead of maintaining relationships with multiple vendors, Perry said that companies are looking to simplify. "We're seeing companies doing rationalization, going from 10 to three security vendors," he said.

Reduced operating budgets and staff reductions over the past year and a half have only accelerated the process, according to Perry.

"Companies are looking at unified security management that can handle firewalls, IDS (intrusion detection systems) and event management in a single fashion so that the seven people you have left out of 10 can do their job just as well," Perry said.

To capitalize on the growing demand, however, Perry said CA will have to raise its profile as a security vendor, selling existing accounts on the company's eTrust security technology while bringing in new customers.

"People don't immediately recognize that Computer Associates is a security player," Perry said.

The company's presence at recent industry shows such as the Computer Security Institute (CSI) show in Chicago and this week's Infosecurity show in New York are designed to raise awareness of CA, Perry said.

"Branding is the number one thing we have to do," he said. "When people wake up in the morning and their first thought is security, we want Computer Associates to immediately follow that thought. If we played the association word game, we wouldn't be there right now."

CA will count on its strength selling scalable software and services to large companies, as well as its ability to tie together the eTrust identity, access and threat management technologies through eTrust Security Command Center, due for release in the first quarter of next year, to grab customers away from smaller competitors, Perry said. The new product will contain event correlation, visualization and security administration features, all accessible from a common graphical interface.

Perry used his keynote address to highlight the importance of security to emerging IT trends.

The simultaneous spread of wireless connectivity and Internet- and Web-based services will mark a fundamental change in the way that individuals and businesses and society works, he said.

With information the key commodity and technology infrastructure serving to link individuals to that information, IT security will take on greater importance, authenticating valid consumers of information while keeping out hackers, which Perry defined as just another type of user.

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