Value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators specializing in security face a Herculean task: not only must you stay abreast of the latest security-specific technologies like Web filters and antispam, but you must understand new technologies and their security implications on the rest of the IT infrastructure. The top terms our readers searched for on SearchSecurityChannel.com are a reflection of this. Take a look at the top buzzwords for the first half of 2007 and let us know what buzzwords you're hearing.
A blade server is a server chassis housing multiple thin, modular electronic circuit boards, known as server blades. Each blade is a server in its own right, often dedicated to a single application. A blade server provides customers with more processing power in less rack space and reduced power consumption. It also offers simplified cabling, which means administrators can spend less time managing the infrastructure and more time assuring high availability. While there is a security advantage to consolidating servers, the blade server security issues are similar to those associated with rack or standalone servers.
A Web filter or URL filter screens an incoming Web page against a set of rules to determine whether some or all of it should not be displayed to the user. VARs can help their clients define these rules to help prevent users from viewing Web sites that may include objectionable content, spyware or viruses.
In addition to implementing a Web filter application, you can control the URLs that enter and leave your customer's network by requiring users to access the Internet via a proxy server or by filtering inbound URLs via an application-layer firewall.
PIX 501 FIREWALL
A firewall is a set of related programs that sit at a network gateway server and protect the resources of a private network from users of other networks. A popular line of network firewalls is Cisco Systems' PIX firewalls, which are available for networks ranging from small home networks to large campus or enterprise networks. The Cisco PIX 501 firewall is meant for small businesses. To configure a PIX 501 firewall out of the box, you must configure passwords, IP addresses, NAT and basic firewall rules -- a mighty task for SMBs lacking dedicated IT staffs and a perfect opportunity for their trusted VAR.
Spyware is generally considered any software that gathers or alters information from your customers' machines without their knowledge or permission. This broad definition includes adware -- which collects information on browsing habits -- to keyloggers, which steal personal information. Private data leakage is obviously a problem, as well as productivity loss. A machine infected with spyware can be rendered utterly useless. VARs and service providers can help customers protect machines with antispyware and remove spyware from infected machines.
DKIM, derived from systems by Yahoo and Cisco, is a way to use digital signatures to bind an email message to the domain that it originated from. DKIM can be a useful component of an overall email security and antispam strategy. While not an antispam technique in and of itself, DKIM helps protect against spoofing – a common technique used by spammers -- by validating the domain of incoming messages.
This was first published in July 2007