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Integrated threat management for the future of IT security


Johannesburg, 23 Jun 2006
Read time 3min 30sec

The world is changing and, with it, the manner in which we access technology and communicate. Computers are becoming faster and broadband Internet connectivity is now a reality for an increasing number of users. Unfortunately, these advances in technology bring with them a concurrent surge in the number of attack vectors that cyber-criminals can utilise to compromise corporate networks and home computer systems.

Simultaneously, many South African corporates have taken a reactive rather proactive approach to security, exacerbating the problems associated with being online.

There are a variety of threats existent today. These include malicious code, such as spyware, malware, viruses and worms. In addition, there has been an explosion of threats that capitalise on the vulnerabilities engendered by individuals, including phishing, inappropriate Internet use and content, and social engineering. Additional threats come in the guise of simple annoyances, such as spam and adware, while the increasingly dangerous threat of intrusion is becoming more common, as hackers develop improved tools for infiltrating corporate networks.

To address the dangers presented by this expanding threat landscape, it is necessary for organisations to undergo a fundamental mind-shift in their approach to IT security. It is no longer enough to implement a number of disparate endpoint solutions. The constant attempt to patch and filter these threats creates a strain on IT resources and impacts on the operational efficiency of businesses. Thus, the attempt to make a fragmented infrastructure effectively protect an organisation is a futile gesture and often leads to conflicting solutions and a redundancy in IT efforts.

Therefore, enterprises wishing to compete in today`s competitive marketplace and dangerous online environment need to implement a unified and integrated approach to security management. Such solutions must offer centralised filtering and policy enforcement capabilities at the corporate gateway and across critical endpoints.

Integrated threat management (ITM) is a new approach to threat prevention that is quickly becoming the de facto standard for the future of network security. ITM provides solutions that proactively, detect, warn, analyse, prevent and remedy threats across IT networks and infrastructure, enabling business leaders to minimise the risk associated with downtime and lost productivity.

Furthermore, ITM empowers IT personnel - enabling them to act rapidly and efficiently in the case of a security breach or potential threat. Hence, the business benefits of implementing an integrated threat management solution include improved operational efficiencies, increased business continuity, and reduced security management costs.

Risk reduction is an important element of ITM in that it provides multiple layers of protection and enables organisations to keep IT assets secure and available. This is a critical element when one considers the expansive threat landscape. Additionally, the backup and business continuity aspects of ITM enable compliance with the various laws and corporate best practices governing local and global businesses.

Additional risk management benefits of ITM include:
* The prevention of business disruption
* Minimal disruption to user productivity
* Efficiency and time reductions in terms of the roll-out of patches and time taken to manually transfer data to new PCs

ITM also offers a number of cost efficiencies and increases in return on investment (ROI), as it eases the threat posed by migration and assists in reducing IT support calls. Furthermore, TCO related to PCs is minimised through automated desktop migration processes.

With the current pace of technological development, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to remain abreast of new security technologies and best practices. For this reason, it is vital for businesses to select the solutions and partners that will be able to provide them with the most long-term scalability and relevance. Of equal importance, however, is the need to deploy integrated solutions that protects against the various divergent threats currently being utilised by hackers and malicious code writers.

Editorial contacts
Computer Associates Africa Christy McMeekin (011) 704 6618 christy@hmcseswa.co.za
Computer Associates Africa Karel Rode (011) 236 9111 Karel.rode@ca.com
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