Business Internet Security

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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One of the buzz words in IT materials and corporate board levels nowadays is perimeter security. What this refers to is the invisible shield between a company's network infrastructure and the Internet. This is a significant chunk of the IT line item in corporate budgets and critical to smooth operations in a marketplace that hinges on connectivity. Users in the everyday world typically, technically, and more accurately in some respects call it a firewall.

Countering the Connectivity Risk

The concept in fact incorporates more than hardware and software. It amounts to a subset of business risk management. Put simply, this means thoroughly understanding both the core business functions and the IT systems supporting them. The connectivity that exposes this corporate life blood to the Internet is the open door to heightened risk. The risk runs from loss of critical data to productivity to denial of service to legal liability, and beyond.

Through this hub or hubs flow email, FTP, telnet, and other digital information protocols. The greater part of business Internet security systems usually come into play here. If the firewall system is the medieval castle wall, then the virus software and spam filtering are the moat. They are most effective when outside the castle wall. So it is with email systems and other Internet protocols. This is where third-party vendors enter the picture.

The numbers relating to Internet security failures are enough to make it clear that the risk is considerable. In 2003, for example, unsolicited email--best known as spam--took a $23 billion toll on the U.S. marketplace. Of that, $10 billion was attributable to lost productivity alone, and $13 billion to interruption in services and damaged resources. The price per incident to a single large organization typically runs perhaps as much as $20,000 for companies with a security plan in place, and as much as $100,000 for those without one.

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