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7/12/2001
03:27 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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When It Comes To Security, Who Do You Trust?

Maybe it was the sleep deprivation that comes from those 2 a.m. feedings. Maybe it was a lack of concentration on anything except developmental toys and napping schedules. But over the past few months while I was on maternity leave I had a few security issues that have made me redouble my efforts to protect my personal possessions as well as my data.

First, my wallet was stolen from my car. No, I shouldn't have left it there. Nevertheless, it was stolen. The culprit likely just took the cash and dumped the rest, but I have this lingering fear that someone could be using my identity.

Second, someone had been using my remote-access software login and password for months. It's probably not possible for the user to get to my actual data. Rather, it was probably just stored on an old computer of mine that's since been used by another employee. I doubt there is any intentional misuse or harm done, but it reminded me that storing passwords for automatic logon really isn't a good thing to do.

Lastly, one evening around midnight I was startled by the deafening ring of my house alarm. I thought: Is there an intruder? Is it a false alarm? Should we grab the children and run? Hide? Should we try to fight off a burglar? I felt better when I noticed that the alarm panel indicated that the interior door that leads to my garage was open--that meant it was doubtful someone had entered from the outside. After a few breathless minutes, we found a black-and-white furball frozen in fright in one corner of the garage--my cat had managed to claw the door open, which set off the alarm.

Of course, none of these episodes are as serious as some of the IT security threats from which you work hard to protect your companies. So why am I telling you all this? It's not because I want you to think I'm careless about my data, money, or house (I'm really not). Yet as minor as these things are, they are reminders to keep security front-of-mind at all times. In this week's cover story ("Security's Best Friend"), senior editor George V. Hulme introduces you to the nascent market for managed security services. Are these services right for you? Would you put your security strategy into someone else's hands? Can you adequately protect your company without the help of such companies?

Fortunately, we haven't heard of any serious virus attacks, intruders, or any other major security threats in recent weeks. But any time is a good time to review your security strategy and make sure you're not more vulnerable than you think.

STEPHANIE STAHL
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com

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