NZ CCIP chief talks security

Tuesday, 5 August 2003, 1:14 PM EST

Monitoring security issues and making sure all the latest patches are installed on your system could be almost a full-time job for one staff member in a moderate-sized IT department, says Jay Garden, head of the New Zealand government's Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP). And it still won’t confer complete protection.

Too many organisations adopt a philosophy of “security by patching”, and it isn’t enough, Garden warned, speaking at a New Zealand Computer Society session in Wellington late last month. Rather, a “secure architecture” should be created, by, for example, minimising the number of services supported on the computer system to only those necessary for the operation of the business and ensuring minimal exposure to the internet, again, only where necessary.

Many organisations that once used private networks to communicate among remote sites are entrusting some of that communication to the internet for economic reasons, and that could be an ill-advised move, or at least one to be approached with great care. Staff training in secure practices and the entrenchment of a “security culture” is vital too, he says.

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