With PDAs, smart phones, USB fobs, laptops and other portable devices attaching to and detaching from your network at will, you need to heed warnings that crucial corporate data might slip by your firewalls, intrusion-detection systems and user authentication processes.
"IT managers have been totally blindfolded with regard to the security of endpoints," argues Gil Sever, CEO of Safend in Tel Aviv. In early September, the company hopes to remedy part of the problem with its new Safend Protector software. The tool includes client-side code for Windows-based systems that enforces device access policies at the corporate, departmental or individual level. For example, you can restrict a laptop's ability to print to different printers based on its location or serial number. Or you can allow end users to read from USB thumb drives but not write to them. When you install Protector or change access policies, you need not reboot your PCs, Sever says. Pricing will start at US$32 per seat, and volume discounts are available.
While many of you manage mobile workers whose pockets are stuffed with all manner of messaging and web-ready gadgets, some of you oh-so-lucky ones get to support countless consumers accessing your systems with an even wider array of digital devices. How do you know the person who just downloaded her stock portfolio to a Palm device is who she says she is? A static ID and password, perhaps? Stu Vaeth, chief security officer at Diversinet Corp. in Toronto, thinks that isn't enough. His company's MobiSecure software lets you dynamically provision passwords to mobile devices via soft tokens. The tiny app runs on BlackBerry, Java, Palm, Symbian and Windows CE handhelds and is accessed via a PIN. It calls a back-end security application to verify the device so the user can then sign in. VeriSign liked MobiSecure enough to plan field trials for later this summer with the intention of rolling out the software in the fall as part of its United Authentication technology. Diversinet also hopes to sell MobiSecure through other vendors, Vaeth says.
The treacherous network edge is made even scarier by malicious or incompetent end users who can easily access and distribute confidential information. According to Steve Roop, vice president of marketing at Vontu Inc. in San Francisco, 68 security breaches had been made public this year through mid-July, prompted partly by California's data breach disclosure law. Of the 64 incidents in which the source of the data leak has been identified, 49 percent were caused by insiders, Roop says.
He claims the Vontu 5.0 security software suite, which is due to ship by the end of September, can vastly reduce your chances of getting burned by your end users. A new module called Vontu Discover crawls through your network looking for more than 200 file types that may contain private data. Roop says the software can take a "fingerprint" of information you want to secure - customer data, source code, chemical formulae - and look for exact matches on storage devices throughout a global network. Vontu's tools then block the unauthorized sending of such data via e-mail, FTP or other means. Pricing for the suite will start at $100,000.
Terminal-emulation market is not in terminal condition. So says Zvi Alon, CEO of NetManage Inc. in Cupertino. Alon continues to pocket cash by selling 3270, 5250 and other hoary terminal-emulation programs. "Companies are buying them in the tens of thousands all the time," he says. That's because when companies upgrade their desktop machines, they generally need new software, including terminal emulators. The so-called webification of Cobol-laden mainframe applications hasn't hurt his business a bit, Alon says, claiming that barely 5 percent of mainframe apps can be accessed by a browser. NetManage does have tools to help IT migrate mainframe programs for browser access.
But a bigger market, Alon suggests, is integrating corporate apps into overall business processes. To that end, he hints that by year's end, NetManage will deliver an application-development framework that lets programmers use scripts to link mainframe and non-mainframe apps in business or service processes.