Building better cyber-walls
By Kenneth Aaron
Date: May 12, 2003
Brian Kurkowski is paranoid. He's chief technology officer for Tech Valley Communications, the Albany telecommunications
provider. And in erecting cyber-defenses against the outside world, he puts a belt and suspenders on his belt and
suspenders.The company, which offers voice and data services, encrypts internal communications -- not just data
leaving the building.Staffers who can access the company's computer network from home are connected on a high-speed
Internet line that's entirely separate from the one it sells to customers."If there are no holes, then you can't be
breached," Kurkowski said, defending his ultra-protective attitude. "The only secure computer is the one that is not
connected to the Internet."
While the measures taken by Tech Valley Communications may be extreme, cybersecurity is a looming concern for many businesses. And in an era when information technology budgets are flat or shrinking, security is dominating many companies' must-do lists. For companies that specialize in security, the heightened concern is a boon."It's the only part that's growing," said Mark Gismondi, sales manager of Computer Visions, a computer-training company based in Corporate Woods in Colonie. "Security is such a need, it's a necessity^; it's almost like breathing air."
Last week, Computer Visions offered an introductory security seminar. Forty companies attended.IDC, a technology research firm based in Framingham, Mass., reported in October that total computer security and business continuity spending would grow from $66 billion in 2001 to $155 billion by 2006 -- a growth rate twice as fast as information technology in general. The information security services segment of that should reach $23.5 billion by 2007, IDC said, growing at 20.9 percent a year.
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