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A Decade of Internet Security Print E-mail
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Posted by Dave Wreski   
Features As we get smarter, so will those trying to exploit the technology the Internet provides. What we can do is never give up the pursuit and after 10 full years of trying, I don't imagine that we ever will. The closing weeks of last month marked the tenth anniversary of the inception commercial Internet security. Internet Security Systems celebrated a decade in business and as an industry we celebrate a decade of securing cyberspace for all users. In the last 10 years the Internet security industry, as well as the Internet as a whole, has grown dramatically developing into an essential part of mainstream culture. Looking back who ever would have thought that our entire livelihood stemmed from a simple idea; create a safe environment for corporations to be able to conduct business over the Internet.

I think it is safe to say that idea came to fruition with flying colors. We are now capable of conducting entire business functions solely through the use of the Internet. Direct mail has become a thing of the past and business phone calls are near obsolete. All communications, commerce, and business operations can be conducted entirely from ones desktop. Unfortunately as the world we live in is deemed unsafe, so is the world we surf in. The number of active cyber criminals is growing by the day and the actions they partake in, including everything from stealing bandwidth to the transferring of viruses and worms, to intruding upon corporate networks, is conducted with the intent to cause inconvenience and in some instances severe network harm. With corporate networks being vital to the every day operational success of millions of world wide businesses, network and Internet security has never been more necessary.

In the beginning, organizations data security requirements were simple. Most systems utilized a password for authentication purposes and a firewall to keep intruders out. As technology improved and companies increasingly requested additional capabilities to better utilize the resources of the Internet, so too did their exposure to exploitation. The first solutions came in way of intrusion detection systems. Designed to analyze network traffic and alert administrators to unusual activity, intrusion detection is presently one of the best network security resources available. From the inception of the intrusion detection system in the mid 1990's, the necessity for Internet security solutions has sky rocketed. No longer would a firewall, password, and a single intrusion detection system keep unlawful visitors away from corporate assets. We soon had to develop virus scanners, spam filters, network intrusion detection, host intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, encryption, and a plethora of others. Once those were developed and packed on to corporate servers you would think it would be safe right? Wrong. Now we were safe from outside intruders for the time being, but what about the internal threats? We then had to begin protecting networks from disgruntled employees, inexperienced administrators, and other inside people who could pose a threat. Enter the widely held usage of internal access controls, application filters, and content filters. So now we are done right? Wrong. All these threats evolve as quickly (if not faster) then the technology itself, so in order to stay completely secure, all of these applications and security mechanisms have to be maintained, updated, and be forced to evolve with the growing and ever-changing risk factors. That is a lot of security.

Bottom-line? Internet security is a marathon; a race against time. As an industry we have to outsmart hackers and cyber vandals before they outsmart us. We have to continue to innovate in hopes of one day reaching the goal of an Internet utopia. Is that possible? Probably not. As we get smarter so will those trying to exploit the technology the Internet provides. What we can do is never give up the pursuit and after 10 full years of trying, I don't imagine that we ever will.

Dave Wreski, CEO Guardian Digital, Inc.

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