The rapid development in communications technology has been accompanied by a similarly swift increase in security threats, cybercrime, and the introduction of correlated security regulations.
According to next generation communications
experts at Alcatel-Lucent (News
), security must become a positive enabler for driving business performance. To achieve this objective enterprises must have a corporate-wide strategy, or a “security blueprint,” that allows the enterprise to be open for business and provides a trusted environment.
A recent whitepaper
outlined five primary ways the ubiquity of the Internet can be leveraged to conduct day-to-day business:
• Business-to-business applications that foster greater cooperation with partners and suppliers
• The adoption of IP Telephony with voice over IP and the movement to all IP networks
• The widespread adoption of mobile communications services and applications allows mobile employees to stay connected with the corporate network and colleagues when they are on the move.
• Web 2.0, which allows information to be sourced from many locations and displayed as composite parts of new applications, is changing the way enterprises use the Internet for business interactions with employees, customers, partners, and suppliers.
• Cloud computing is on the horizon with the promise to reduce costs by creating virtual computing “clouds” in cyberspace.
At the same time, Alcatel-Lucent officials said, enterprises are challenged to deal with a technology-driven increase in security threats and the growth of cybercrime, which include:
• Automating business processes with partners can expose an enterprise to significant potential for information security breaches and malicious activity conducted from outside the enterprise.
• The adoption of VoIP has made voice a new network security risk and is exposing enterprises to potential breeches to the traditional security perimeter, denial of service attacks.
• Mobile communications services and applications are opening the door to new mobile malware risks and the potential for private corporate data to be lost or stolen when stored on mobile devices.
• New business models enabled by Web 2.0 and cloud computing are creating more challenges by externalizing business processes and moving them to cyberspace where there is less control of private data.
In 2009, industry experts presented to the U.S. Senate committee hearing on improving cyber security estimated profits from the cybercrime economy totaled close to $1 trillion U.S., more than the cash generated by drug crime, according the whitepaper. This was reinforced in a report by Symantec (News
) in April 2009 that noted there was a 265 percent increase in malicious code threats in 2008 compared to 2007.
Given this climate, a so-called “dynamic enterprise
” – a term that describes a successful, profitable company that is constantly evolving to quickly adapt to its market environment and differentiate itself from its competitors – must simplify communications, strengthen relationships and increase productivity in a “continuous transformation process,” according to the Alcatel-Lucent whitepaper. This ongoing process must efficiently and securely interlock four critical business functions and assets:
• Network – the foundation for the enterprise communications infrastructure
• People – employees, contractors, partners and suppliers
• Processes – the tasks carried out by employees
• Knowledge – in the organization, which is typically in people’s heads or scattered across multiple databases
By securely interconnecting these four components, the dynamic enterprise can quickly adapt to new market environments and differentiate itself from competitors, Alcatel-Lucent officials said.
Erin Harrison is a Senior Editor with TMC. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison