Think Carefully Before Volunteering to Be a Security Vendors Guinea Pig
Market downturn or not, the drawing power of the "cutting edge" remains a powerful force.Market downturn or not, the drawing power of the "cutting edge" remains a powerful force. No matter what their business requirements, companies want to have the most advanced tools available. Even after the collapse of the dot-com bubble and the end of the notion of "Internet time," they continue to search for the next "killer app"if not to revolutionize their industries, then at least to gain a competitive edge. Indeed, the IT industry continues to exist largely because of the persistent demand for new tools to sell, service and integrate into existing systems. Anyone with IT experience knows, however, that newer is not necessarily better. Even a so-called "flawless" new technology has implementation and migration costs that easily can outweigh any benefits. An experienced security professional will go a step further; when risk management is the goal, "innovative" and "cutting edge" translate as "untried" and "untested."
Case in point: The Data Encryption Standard (DES), the basic algorithm currently used to encrypt classified U.S. government documents and most financial industry data, originally was developed in an IBM lab in 1972 and adopted by the federal government in 1977. Though designed to withstand attacks by 70s-era processors, simple DES remained the only approved mechanism for encrypting classified documents until 1993, at which point the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) approved "Triple DES," a process by which data is DES-encrypted three times in succession. Even so, Triple DES was not required for classified documents until 1999, and DES remains in use for sensitive nonclassified documents.