If I ask you the question -
This time 3 years ago did you have an anti-virus and
anti-spyware tool on your computer?
The answer will depend on who you are… If you
are an IT Pro (i.e. you work in the IT Industry) you most likely had an
anti-virus application at least. If you are a home user, you may have had an
anti-virus application, but was it up to date? In the enterprise, many of you
still did not even have anti-virus. The indication is today many people have
both – why is that? Why do many people now have firewalls on their pc’s and at the perimeter of their networks?
The drivers here are connectivity and functionality. The
more we have, the more we want. Email and Internet access is now critical to
our business day and the more we use it, the more reliant on computers from
desktop pc’s to laptops and pocket / mobile devices we are.
Generally once we had a more permanent connection to
the Internet, came the perimeter firewall. Next was SPAM, so we installed
filters on our email gateways. Then as people used the new resources came
malicious software so we installed utilities like the Anti-Spyware
tool from Microsoft. Now we have local firewalls on the PC, biometrics multi
What was the change, primarily education.
People now know about the potential challenges they face because they or
someone they know has had a problem. The great thing is that we talk about
taking a ‘defence in depth approach’ and people are already doing
Defence in depth means looking at security at every
part of your network system, from the perimeter to the network layer, to the
application layer and the data stored on your network and taking in to account
the hosts (servers and workstations). If you look at the direction we are
heading in, our servers and workstations now are getting firewalls. We are
encrypting the data not only as it sits on our networks, but as it traverses
them and the Internet. We also help protect our systems by updating them
Now this is the fun bit, where do we go from here.
The answer is that the perception of security [albeit slowly] is changing from a
dark art to inherently built in. This is one of my biggest focuses for this
year to be able to help people now be afraid of security, but embrace it as
part of what they do every day.