InfoSec 2008: Key takeaways from Europe's biggest security event

Thomas RaschkeInfosecurity Europe is the continent's premier dedicated information security event. InfoSec, held the 22nd-24th of April at London's Grand Hall, Olympia, saw some 300 security vendors exhibiting and more than 12,500 security folks visiting. Next year will be at the bigger Earls Court. Last year had fewer attendees, but the benefit of a clear key topic: data security.

So, what was the buzz about this time around? Well, for starters there was no single topic that stood out, but instead InfoSec 2008 was a complex smorgasbord of all past and present security and risk management themes. Certainly, deperimeterization, endpoint protection, data-driven security, and compliance strategies were very visible, but at the same time many network security solutions and antivirus stuff were pushed heavily. Some of the traditional security heavyweights were, you guessed it, widely visible and audible and included the likes of McAfee, Sophos, Kaspersky, Juniper Networks, etc.

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Hitachi acquires M-Tech Information Technology

Andras Cser

The number of pure-play vendors in user account provisioning decreased on April 7, 2008 when Hitachi announced that it acquired M-Tech Information Technology, and changed the name to Hitachi ID. Although Hitachi has been lacking an identity and access management (IAM) pedigree, this move can prove important due to the following reasons:
1) Using IAM for provisioning of physical resources and hardware resources.
2) Extending enterprise role definitions to previously uncharted verticals and cultures.
3) Evangelizing user account provisioning and IAM in Japan and other APAC regions.
4) Hitachi becoming a major player in Japanese SOX (JSOX) implementation.

Needless to say, the above will hinge on Hitachi's ability to retain and grow the existing customer base of M-Tech IT in North  America and Europe, and also on  Hitachi's ability to compete against EMC's selling of  Courion and RSA products. How Hitachi will create an access and adaptive access management (Web and desktop) portfolio to complement its identity management and provisioning portfolio also remains to be seen.

UBS Explains Risk Management Gone Wrong

Mary Beth Kemp

Big news in risk management this week as UBS released a report to shareholders describing the situation that has led to roughly $37 billion in write-downs so far related to the company's subprime exposures (see articles in Reuters , Forbes , the Wall Street Journal , and BusinessWeek).

Overarching causes described in the report are not surprising; control failures, an overly aggressive focus on short-term growth, and excessive risk taking are among the high level issues addressed. Also in the report, however, are scores of more detailed explanations of control failures in more than 20 different categories. Specific problems on the list include:

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IBM Buys Diligent As Its Deduplication Anchor

Stephanie On April 18th, IBM announced its intent to acquire virtual tape library (VTL) and deduplication vendor Diligent Technologies. For IBM, Diligent is a good fit. The company offers both mainframe and open systems virtual tape libraries and they are a pioneer of deduplication. However, IBM already offers a market leading mainframe VTL based on its own intellectual property and an open systems VTL based on FalconStor technology — although the open systems VTL has very limited adoption — so there is also a lot of overlap. Because Diligent is a software solution, IBM can quickly integrate Diligent with any of its storage systems and bring new VTLs to market relatively quickly. It’s very likely that IBM will in fact pursue this route so it can bring an inline deduplicating VTL to market as quickly as possible.



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IBM Expands Replication Capabilities With Acquisition Of FilesX

Stephanie On April 10, 2008, IBM announced its intent to acquire FilesX, a small startup that offers server-based replication and continuous data protection technology. The acquisition will become part of the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) family of products.



This acquisition will help IBM Tivoli fill a gap in their current portfolio of offerings for data protection. The vendor currently offers Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), which is one of the leading enterprise-class backup software applications, and Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files, a product mostly used to protect PCs. In addition to traditional backup to tape or disk, TSM can also manage Microsoft Virtual Snapshots (VSS) and its own IBM storage-based snapshot technology in support of instant restore or snapshot assisted backup. But the company didn’t really have an offering for customers who wanted something that was better than backup but not as expensive as storage-based replication, this is where FilesX comes in. With FilesX, IBM can now address the recovery requirements of small enterprises that can’t afford storage-based replication. They can also meet the recovery requirements of large enterprises that want to protect more servers within their company with a more affordable replication offering as well as servers at the remote office.


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End user security psychology, part II: Can knowledge-based authentication be effective?

Bill Nagel

Another post on Finextra discusses some recent research out of New Zealand that determined that the longer an authentication process drags on -- the more gantlets a user needs to run before being let in a site's front door -- the less secure those users perceive the site is.

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