Choosing Security Software

A couple of months ago the government released the findings from a ‘cybersecurity review’ that was performed over the course of 60 days. The statistics showed that in 2008, online criminals stole nearly $1 trillion worth of intellectual property taken from businesses around the world. In the past two years, online crimes have cost American businesses upwards of $8 billion.

Hackers have developed increasingly sophisticated means of tampering with the Web, including infecting or pirating critical software applications in both public and private sectors of business. Traditional security measures have protected software only by using passive activities such as encrypting files or hiding programs behind firewalls and security perimeters. The problem with passive approaches is that they provide just a single defense layer that experienced hackers can dispose of quickly, leaving applications with no protection once that security level is breached.

The Internet obviously has opened up new markets and business opportunities, but it has also provided for the rapid dissemination of malware, different types of viruses, and compromised applications that can bring business to a halt. With companies increasing global distributions and online sales, and increasing numbers of businesses conducting operations online, the risk to transactions and software is growing exponentially. Securing the perimeter of a network, application, or system is no longer sufficient in today’s distributed computing environment. To safeguard their intellectual property, companies need to adopt new approaches that integrate security directly into software and data.

To succeed in IP protection, security software must be durable and resilient. Protection methods currently used―authenticating users, specifying user privileges, and transaction verification―are easy for experienced hackers to get around because they are a single yes/no point of decision. Such individual decision points result in single failure points, which allows hackers to create tools of attack that are rapidly distributed throughout the Internet. Protection schemes must be renewed and updated to maintain immunity against the experienced hackers gain every time they successfully breach security.

Security solutions should be user-friendly so that users can tailor the software to fit their specific business requirements for their individual environment. The solutions should also be free of performance penalties, so that developers do not have to choose between the amount of performance they get and the amount of the application that is secured. Also, security approaches should be friendly toward developers, because providing security at the code level is expensive and labor-intensive. In addition, code-level security measures will not be reusable, so ongoing expenses will be high.

Successful protection of your IP requires a balanced, careful evaluation of the various approaches available, and then selection of the one that will provide you with the maximum defense against hackers. If you keep these requirements in mind while making your selection, then the next time a hacker tries to worm his/her way into your mission-critical applications, your IT administrator will receive prompt notification in real time, and will be able to respond appropriately to protect your network and systems. Thwarting hackers isn’t as daunting a challenge if you prepare yourself ahead of time, and ensure that you have the proper protection in place.