Blended Tools

By Matt Hines  |  Posted 2006-05-16 Print this article Print

At the cutting edge of the device-monitoring field are some technologies that look to blend traditional facilities security tools like building cameras with IT operations. Since blocking a USB port does nothing to stop users from taking pictures of important documents with a camera phone, or even just making copies of sensitive paperwork to carry out, companies must consider becoming more like the Big Brother government of George Orwells classic "1984," some experts said.

One company marketing such tools is 3VR Security, which in April introduced the fourth iteration of its IVMS (Intelligent Video Management Systems), which promises to convert raw video from security cameras into a searchable database.
The system promises to detect misuse and warn administrators if it appears that someone is stealing data, or attempting to log into computers or a data center where they do not have access privileges.

"From both an IT and traditional security standpoint, theres a massive market for surveillance and video technologies and information management is the biggest problem customers have," said Steven Russell, co-founder of 3VR. "In addition to giving companies the ability to say for sure who exactly was sitting at a certain computer when it accessed or downloaded some proprietary data, there is the ancillary benefit of having people know that they are being watched; it may sound obtrusive, but companies in the health care and financial services industries in particular have to consider that they can be held liable if they dont know where this information went."

Security experts recommend that the simplest way to limit the security implications of consumer devices in the enterprise is to establish clear user policies governing the use of such technologies, to the point where there is little question as to the exact details.

Steve Hunt, analyst for 4A International, Chicago, a research firm studying the convergence of IT and traditional corporate security measures, believes that companies will ultimately be forced to convince workers that they are being constantly monitored in order to discourage people from believing they can get away with stealing information.

"Companies need to create the same sort of atmosphere as the health clubs, where if you pull out a camera phone in the locker room, not only does management have a problem, but so will the person sitting next to you," said Hunt. "It may seem sort of Draconian at first, but with all the devices that are finding their way into the office, it may someday be the only choice companies have."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.


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