Cyber-Defense Plan Needs to Stay on Target

The proposal can remain true to its purpose, rather than become a political football.

What would be the cyber-defense equivalent of having grandma take off her shoes at the airport as a security measure? Building a federal network operations center that filtered Internet traffic to find bad guys comes to mind. No sooner would the federal NOC be built than cyber-terrorists would find a way into, around or through the NOC. Having something that is supposed to be protecting you when it has been thwarted is worse than no protection at all.

Creation of a federal cyber-NOC appears to be one of the concepts seriously toned down between the time eWeek first obtained a draft of the federal cyber-security plan and the release of the plan for public discussion last week. In "Critics Take On New Fed Plan," we detail the reaction to the proposal and examine ways the proposal can remain true to its purpose of strengthening our cyber-defenses, rather than become a political football for the technology community.

As if they needed a reminder about IT belt tightening for the 2003 budget, vendors looking for an end to lean times got jolted by Electronic Data Systems last week. The second-biggest computer systems company gave Wall Street an unpleasant surprise by warning that spending on computer services had stopped and that the companys balance sheet was due for a big downward revision. In this weeks report on the IT budget crunch, we look at the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of 2003 budgets. These days, many IT budgets are a zero-sum game, with money being shifted from one IT segment to another that now has a higher priority, such as security or application integration. I suspect one area taking those hits is the big projects that companies such as EDS once counted on for growing revenues. See our special report.

One budget area getting a lot of attention is the option of using Linux operating systems and applications to avoid some of those onerous licensing fees. In "Tools Distinguish Suns LX50," Francis Chu looks at Suns first x86-based server running the companys Linux 5.0 operating system. This might be one you want to try in the server room.

And, finally, to hear about Grooves view of the role of the server from one of the inventors of groupware and distributed collaborative computing, read Stan Gibson and John McCrights interview with Groove founder Ray Ozzie.

What areas of your 2003 budget are going to take the hits? Write to me at