Security Should Top Web Services Agenda

The potential users of web services have their priorities correct. Now we'll see if the vendors can address those needs in the order required.

The potential users of Web services have their priorities correct. Now well see if the vendors can address those needs in the order required. As our news story and our eWeek Labs feature story outline, Web security concerns have to be overcome before these services can develop into anything beyond a promise. There is a tremendous benefit in trying to hammer down the feature set of any product before you are forced to retrofit your way to success.

Right now, much of the security discussion centers on two specifications proposed to fill the security gaps in the SOAP design environment. For an in-depth look at the SAML and WS-Security proposals, see West Coast Technical Director Tim Dycks story. Also in the Labs section, East Coast Technical Director Jim Rapoza reviews Sanctums AppShield 4.0. AppShield takes a different approach to securing Web applications, finding out what an application is supposed to do and what is normal user activity and then shutting down everything outside of those norms. See if this approach is right for you.

And while youre in the Labs section, check out Labs Analyst Jason Brooks review of three recent releases of Linux-based desktop systems. Linux has always had some strong attributes, including a revolutionary development process, a free price and stability. But usability and desktop appeal were never among its strong points. That lack is finally being addressed to the point where Jason awarded SuSE Linux 8.0 an eWeek Labs Analysts Choice designation. SuSE was easy to install and administer and presented an interface that was actually understandable. That SuSE only narrowly edged out Mandrake Linux 8.2 and Red Hat Linux 7.3 is testimony to how fast these products are becoming real contenders for the corporate desktop.

The other battle for the corporate desktop and, in fact, the rest of the corporate IT infrastructure is unfolding as the recently combined Hewlett-Packard and Compaq try to keep current customers happy while pursuing new business. In this weeks Cover Story on the new HP, we look at the challenges faced by the four senior vice presidents named to head the companys four new divisions. It will be up to these executives to see if the grand expansion envisioned by the new HP can be delivered in terms of products and services that customers want.

How do you feel about Web services, Linux and the new HP? Write to me at