CeBIT 2008: Green Security?

Green IT was the key topic at the 2008 CeBIT, Europe’s biggest IT trade show held annually in Hanover, Germany (http://www.cebit.de). Great! While green giants like IBM and Microsoft, and also some public entities with junglesque floor representations were pushing the environmental aspects of IT mostly in noisy public announcements and glossy press material – taking a closer look at what exactly was featured on the floor displayed a different truth: Underneath the green mantle, most of CeBIT featured high-powered, Watt-hungry, fast pacing computing equipment – often assisted by sports cars, stretch limos, etc. when being presented on the floor. So much for Green IT.

“Security” you might ask? Well, this megalomanical trade show also is host to the embedded “CeBIT Security World” (interestingly enough, this “world-leading security event” (quote!) was in the same hall as the e-learning part of CeBIT…) which featured larger representations from vendors with a significant European presence like: Utimaco Safeware, Kaspersky, BitDefender, Evidian, Aladdin Knowledge Systems, or Avira (Antivir). Security heavy weights like McAfee and Trend Micro were also present. Based on marketing material and vendor speak, key topics were supposedly data leak prevention (DLP) and unified threat management (UTM) appliances! Well, UTMs have been around for a while and were to be found in abundance in Hall Six (the security and e-learning hall). Finding DLP evidence on the floor proved to be more difficult. With the exception of McAfee and Trend Micro, only the German vendor Utimaco (through its OEM deal with Trend) and Kaspersky, daughter InfoWatch, were addressing the problem. InfoWatch took up literally 2x3 meters (Europe, right?) of the huge antivirus threat booth that Kaspersky had rented. Judging from conversations with attendees and journalists, DLP still has a long ways to go on the continent before it reaches similar awareness levels as in the US or the UK (it will be interesting to see if InfoSec in London next month will again lead with the insider threat protection angle…)

Final question: Was there a trace of Green in the security hall? Not really – but I guess you also didn’t expect that, right?