IT security needs a new metaphor

Tuesday, 4 November 2003, 10:33 AM EST

It is no longer fashionable to regard security as a fortress to keep people out. The new analogy is an airport, where anyone can enter, but access to different areas is then strictly policed by a series of checks and controls.

John Stewart of Signify, an IT security consultancy, outlined five areas of IT security when he spoke to IT directors at September's BCS Elite Conference.

The role of the immigration officers, inspecting credentials and deciding who is allowed in, is played by firewalls. Identity management is the passport office, which issues and verifies those credentials. Content security equates to the x-ray machines used to check luggage; encryption is the diplomatic bag that ensures confidential documents are not snooped on; and intrusion detection is the CCTV that monitors all activity and spots threats.

Although simplistic, this kind of analogy is ideal for communicating ideas about security, especially to business managers, for whom it is a turn-off topic on the wrong side of the balance sheet.

[ Read more ]




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