A firewall is a fine security measure if you are within the firewall. Recognizing that telecommuting is placing more and more of its information assets outside its firewall, global IT-services company EDS is putting firewall software from Zone Labs onto its employees' notebooks and remote PCs. At EDS, 70,000 of its 122,000 employees worldwide access the company network through a dial-up or ISP connection.
"We encourage employees to take their laptops home," says John Kirby, EDS director of enterprise-protection strategy. "Dialing into the network presents a highly exposed situation where you could have hackers get into a PC without a firewall and [then] into the company network."
EDS plans to put ZoneAlarm Pro firewalls, which alert people to dangerous E-mail attachments or virus replication, on its employees' hardware by the third quarter. The company also plans to resell ZoneAlarm Pro to its customers. "We create a security-conscious user because they get notification," says Zone Labs CEO Gregor Freund.
Maybe so, but employees have to know what to do when they are alerted, says Forrester industry analyst Frank Prince. "Most users don?t know what their computers do anyway," he says. "If a message pops up, users don't know if their choice of action is legal or not." Prince adds companies can help by creating security policies, and configuring software to automatically destroy viruses without giving a choice about what action to take.