Is there a doctor in the house?

Medicine, TV remotes and the future of IT security.

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I may have solved the problem about the global shortage of doctors and law enforcement officers. They’re all on television. It seems no matter what channel you switch to these days there you have it, yet another crime is solved or another mystery illness has been dealt with.

If only the World Health Organisation had Dr. House we wouldn’t have to worry about Swine Flu. I’ve got to the point where I refer my GP to different episodes to help diagnose a problem. Obviously he wasn’t good enough to make it on TV so now he just works at a local practice!

But the plethora of programs to keep everyone healthy has a major downside. By the time you watch them all you end up need a whole variety of equipment. So apart from the TV, we now have a digital receiver, a DVD player/recorder, the good old video recorder, and finally the surround sound system so you can get all the glorious sound affects of open heart surgery! It means that that you now have to master at least five remote controls just to watch one program.

And when you look at your average networking department it’s a similar story. The administrator today makes your average forex trader seem like an amateur when it comes to watching multiple screens. Firewalls, routers, UTM devices, IPS, IDS, and then you have your “shapers”, “filters”, “optimisers”, “accelerators”, “leakage preventors”, “email scanners”, in fact the list is endless, and each and every system has its own unique management station, and its own unique way of reporting what’s going on.

To support rapidly changing business requirements, enterprise networks are continuously growing in terms of number of components and the rate at which changes are made to each component. Networks are also very diverse, made up of solutions from multiple vendors. Security administrators do not have an effective system for security policy management throughout the network. They monitor each network device separately, often through inaccurate, manual processes.

This inevitably increases instances of network misconfiguration, which in turn increases exposure to security threats, regulatory compliance failures and downtime.

Groups like the Jericho Forum have for the past few years promoted de-perimeterisation and I believe that they have identified a very important issue for the IT security vendors. Jericho Forum commandment #5 states that “All devices must be capable of maintaining their security policy on an untrusted network”.

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