Essays Tagged "IEEE Computer"
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Computer security is at a crossroads. It’s failing, regularly, and with increasingly serious results. CEOs are starting to notice. When they finally get fed up, they’ll demand improvements. (Either that or they’ll abandon the Internet, but I don’t believe that is a likely possibility.) And they’ll get the improvements they demand; corporate America can be an enormously powerful motivator once it gets going.
For this reason, I believe computer security will improve eventually. I don’t think the improvements will come in the short term, and I think that they will be met with considerable resistance. This is because the engine of improvement will be fueled by corporate boardrooms and not computer-science laboratories, and as such won’t have anything to do with technology. Real security improvement will only come through liability: holding software manufacturers accountable for the security and, more generally, the quality of their products. This is an enormous change, and one the computer industry is not going to accept without a fight…
Deciding to outsource network security is difficult. The stakes are high, so it’s no wonder that paralysis is a common reaction when contemplating whether to outsource or not:
- The promised benefits of outsourced security are so attractive. The potential to significantly increase network security without hiring half a dozen people or spending a fortune is impossible to ignore.
- The potential risks of outsourcing are considerable. Stories of managed security companies going out of business, and bad experiences with outsourcing other areas of IT, show that selecting the wrong outsourcer can be a costly mistake…
Suppose your doctor said, “I realize we have antibiotics that are good at treating your kind of infection without harmful side effects, and that there are decades of research to support this treatment. But I’m going to give you tortilla-chip powder instead, because, uh, it might work.” You’d get a new doctor.
Practicing medicine is difficult. The profession doesn’t rush to embrace new drugs; it takes years of testing before benefits can be proven, dosages established, and side effects cataloged. A good doctor won’t treat a bacterial infection with a medicine he just invented when proven antibiotics are available. And a smart patient wants the same drug that cured the last person, not something different…
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.