Trade Groups Launch Security Assessment Tools

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-12-03 Print this article Print

New semi-annual survey and evaluation for enterprise CEOs are part of an effort to jumpstart action on national cyber-security, but some say it's not enough.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Leading technology industry groups used the National Cyber Security Summit being held here to introduce Wednesday new tools for assessing information while deflecting criticism that industry initiatives so far have failed to fortify cyberspace. Read "Feds: Tech Industry Must Act to Thwart Security Threats."
The Information Technology Association of America announced plans for a national security readiness survey of enterprises to be conducted in conjunction with the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. The results of the semi-annual assessment will help measure the nations state of information security and pinpoint areas needed for improvement, said the trade groups president, Harris Miller.
Meanwhile, TechNet, a group representing tech company CEOs and senior executives, unveiled its Corporate Information Security Evaluation. The evaluation, previewed on Wednesday and set for a final release in January, is a series of about 80 questions for CEOs to help them determine the security preparedness of their businesses. "Whether CEOs know it or not, they have a strong fiduciary responsibility around information security," said Art Coviello, president and CEO of RSA Security, during a press conference at the security summit. Both efforts come as the industry and Department of Homeland Security try to jumpstart action on the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, an administration plan released almost a year ago. After the resignation of the White House cyber-security czar in January, the Homeland Security Department in June formed the National Cyber Security Division. Its director, Amit Yoran, didnt come on board until October. The IT industry has been loathe to accept any legislation or government regulations that require reporting of security breaches or the use of security technology or methods, and the administration has largely agreed with it. Reporting of security breaches has remained voluntary. Pressed on why the industry wouldnt accept reporting requirements, ITAAs Miller said that businesses already are heavily focused on information security and pointed to the new survey and CEO tools as the beginning of broader steps that the industry will be taking. Next page: Security experts are skeptical about surveys.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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