Strangled by security?

Tuesday, 7 January 2003, 4:04 AM EST

The end result is an organization focused on defensive measures. You deploy physical security, firewalls, honey pots, virus protection, and usage policies, and hope for the best. It's the typical, common sense approach to protecting digital assets, but it can also strangle an organization.

As Sun Tzu wrote in the "Art of War" more than 2,000 years ago, "Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive."

Keeping the bad guys from getting inside the perimeter addresses an important security problem but puts a company in a defensive posture as it relates to conducting business. You might be able to keep hackers from penetrating your network, but you could also create bottlenecks that keep legitimate users from gaining access when they need it. In addition, given the fact that the vast majority of attacks come from insiders, building a bigger fence around the corporate network is not the answer.

A largely defensive approach is like digital barbed wire, and it will have an adverse impact on workflow, collaboration and company moral. Nobody wants to deal with intrusive, heavy-handed security policies and monitoring that borders on invasion of privacy.

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