Read the Dot-Com Ashes to Build Better Biz

Here's some advice. Before you embark on an e-commerce project or an upgrade to your e-mail system or corporate Web portal, wait a few weeks.

Heres some advice. Before you embark on an e-commerce project or an upgrade to your e-mail system or corporate Web portal, wait a few weeks. By then, we will have finished our eWeek Labs Special Series on enterprise security, which will be a great document to have in hand as you go about making sure the bad guys cant get into corporate networks.

This week, West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck delves into prevention. After all, the best security system is the one that keeps the bad guys out. As Tims article points out, you can do yourself a lot of good by keeping just the elements you really need rather than all defaults, help files and standard folders, which are easy prey for hackers. Developing and implementing a solid data security model takes lots of planning, knowledgeable developers and—even in a rocky economic climate—money. But, as weve said all along, if youre not going to take the required steps to operate a secure system, you and your company should never venture into the digital world.

While security policies are a first step, you also have to make sure that the products you install to implement those policies perform as advertised. This is where our Labs comes into play. For example, take a look at this weeks review by Francis Chu on Lancopes StealthWatch intrusion-detection appliance. StealthWatch is a strong, enterprise-level appliance, and at $40,000, isnt inexpensive. But it is a whole lot cheaper than the harm of a companywide data security breakdown. Certainly in the current climate of the war on terrorism, companies have to commit to making these types of investments.

The upside of developing a strong security infrastructure is that once its deployed, you can go about building a strong digital business to accompany and enhance your physical business practices. Think of the failed dot-coms as a vast beta lab funded by the venture capital of others. Take whats best from them and bring those best-of-breed practices and products into your company.

If you need examples of companies that have beaten the e-business odds, you can find them in our yearly FastTrack listings. In those listings and accompanying profiles, you can see great examples of how smart companies are leveraging the venture capital mistakes of others. Why would health care company Kaiser Permanente spend $4.05 million to buy the failed operations of Webvan Group? Why would Snap-on—as hard a hardware company as ever existed—start rolling out extranets to its dealers? Why is General Electric—a company known for tightly monitoring the bottom line—boosting IT spending by 12 percent? Because those companies see a huge opportunity in building success on the blunders of others. Build a secure platform, layer on the applications gathered from the dot-com ashes and watch your business grow. That may be the digital mantra for 2002.

Whats your strategy for 2002? Write to me at [email protected]