BRIEFS: Network Storage Rules; Anti-Virus Software; Choosing a Mail Filter

Learn Network Storage Security Rules; Free Anti-Virus (For A Year)

Learn Network Storage Security Rules

Businesses must consider storage security, whether designing storage networks, crafting storage management policies, or when considering storage consolidation, warns the Yankee Group. In a new report, “The Emerging Storage Security Challenge,” Yankee says “customers should evaluate which applications and data sets need more advanced security, and ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect data.”

Sounds easy, yet, notes Yankee analyst Jamie Gruener, “network storage has changed the way enterprises manage their storage environments.”

Network-based storage—using the network to provide storage to myriad devices—replaces previous storage paradigms. Traditionally, larger applications, especially ERP systems, tapped a dedicated storage repository. Now, however, to save costs and increase storage efficiency, companies are moving away from dedicated storage.

Doing so, however, is still a technology work in progress, and Yankee warns that “the significant complexity of deploying and managing storage networks makes security a fragile proposition.” Storage repositories, and networks trafficking that data, must be safeguarded, warns the firm. Plan now; Yankee predicts government mandates along those lines in the future. Otherwise, cautions analyst Matthew Kovar, storage networks face pitfalls last seen by enterprise networks five years ago, “when intrusions and denial-of-service attacks were commonplace.”

Free Anti-Virus—For A Year

Microsoft, as part of its "Protect Your PC" program, announced Computer Associates (CA) has signed on to give consumers free “enterprise-class anti-virus software” to boost “the security on the home computers of more than 60 million consumers,” i.e., the Windows home-user install base.

CA's eTrust EZ Armor software, which includes a firewall, is free for download through the end of June 2004. Users get a year of free use, after which they must begin paying. CA says strengthening home computers—especially given the rise in always-on connectivity thanks to broadband—will decrease virus promulgation worldwide. No word on what happens in a year.

Link to "Protect Your PC" downloads: http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/default.asp

What’s in Your E-mail?

How much of e-mail is business communication; how much is out-and-out spam, and just what kind of spam is it?

Spam accounts for 55 percent of e-mail, virus-laden e-mails for 1 percent, and e-mails with “potentially” pornographic images attached amounted to 1 in every 2,445 e-mails (or .0004 percent).

Those figures are from e-mail security provider MessageLabs’ November Intelligence Report, based on its scans of 424 million e-mails (two-thirds inbound, the rest outbound) during November.

Astute observers will rate spam as more than a nuisance, and the need to eradicate it will lead to lots of M&A activity on the anti-spam front, predict David Ferris and Jeff Ubois of Ferris Research. They forecast anti-spam-product revenues will grow from 2003 to 2004—from $120 million to $360 million (that’s 200 percent) and lead to rampant consolidation. “The anti-spam market is highly fragmented with more than 60small and large vendors trying to capture the opportunity” now, they say.

Which should you do business with? Companies that recently received funding, or more funding, include Cloudmark, FrontBridge, Ironport, MailFrontier, MessageGate, MX Logic, Postini, and ProofPoint. Ferris notes “some of the largest anti-spam concerns” are already making money—even accounting for research and development. Those names include BrightMail, CipherTrust, Clearswift, MessageLabs, Sophos, and SurfControl. Finally, companies such as Trend Micro, Network Associates, Symantec, Yahoo, AOL, and Tumbleweed have also invested money recently to improve their anti-spam products.

About the Author

Mathew Schwartz is a Contributing Editor for Enterprise Systems and is its Security Strategies column, as well as being a long-time contributor to the company's print publications. Mr. Schwartz is also a security and technology freelance writer.