By Chet Heath  |  Posted 2003-03-13 Print this article Print

-Specific Security Method #1--Host-Based Software"> Host-Based Software refers to a security application running on the server to be protected. Examples include Check Point Secure Server, and products from Okena (Stormwatch), and Entercept Security Technologies version 4.0. Advantages:
  • Host-based software runs on the system it protects as an application under a common operating system.
  • It runs at the kernel layer, allowing mail applications like Microsoft Exchange to be easily interfaced for virus screening when mail files are opened. It also allows very close monitoring of application calls within the OS to determine if an infection has infiltrated the host OS, even if it might be too late.
  • Because the software is internal to the server, there are no unprotected external interfaces.
  • Host-based applications can typically be installed quickly with minimal downtime of the server.
  • Host-based software takes performance away from other processes running in the server and they may interfere with intended operation or availability of the server. Theyre probably best suited to protecting desktop systems.
  • Must run on same OS as the protected system. This could imply as many different versions to manage as there are operating systems in the network.
  • IT organizations typically see security software as parasitic to the servers mission. Obviously, the host-based application must operate under the same OS as the server, potentially restricting choice away from an optimal solution.
  • Some "hybrid" host based solutions require a proprietary network adapter that includes acceleration hardware to assist. The system must be powered down for installation of this card.
  • Top-down management is difficult as it requires managing security software on many diverse platforms and does not permit a standardized, centralized, common, global management strategy.
  • On each OS upgrade a new version may be required, and it may not be available.
  • If application hangs – availability of the server is blocked and requires manual intervention.


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