Secure content management (SCM) is increasingly moving away from one type of protection such as anti-virus software. It is now focused on broad protection against a wide range of emerging threats to enterprise content.
Although anti-virus software still remains the foundation of enterprise security, emerging security threats are forcing companies to safeguard their assets with multiple layers of protection.
Indeed, spam, legal liability, and productivity are driving the need to scan e-mail and web traffic for inappropriate content and misuse of property.
So, in order to make these tasks viable, companies have to implement a unified way of managing these multiple secure content technologies.
Security continues to rank as a top technology concern for large enterprises. In fact, a recent IDC research survey amongst IT managers' states that security was rated the top priority for 2003 and that the security portion of budgets will be increased for 2004.
The SCM market has proven to be a primary area for security spending and has seen continuous growth throughout the last few years - 34% growth in 2002.
SCM growth is driven by various factors
Enterprise efficiency is one of the first that spring to mind. Non-business related web surfing, personal e-mails, messages, and spam all drive down employee productivity and subsequently enterprise efficiency.
Employees who visit pornographic web sites from work still remain the biggest concern to organisations. According to SexTracker, 70% of all Internet pornography traffic occurs between 9h00 and 17h00 workdays.
Plus, the myriad of Internet-based services such as online stock trading, streaming media, music and video downloads all compete for employee time.
Content security solutions were originally introduced to block and filter inappropriate and non-business related web surfing. Today, these solutions focus on enhancing productivity - optimising employees' use of the Internet and supporting a broader, proactive and knowledge-based environment.
IDC also believes that content security solutions will continue to increase enterprise efficiency by reducing distractions and keeping workers focused.
Another driver of SCM growth is viruses which continue to be, by a wide margin, the most common threat faced by organisations today. And although viruses and malicious code remain prevalent, hybrid threats such as the Win32.Poza worm - also known as Lovsan and Msblast - are the most significant online threats to companies.
Because hybrid or blended threats are designed to get past point-solution security systems, there is a strong push towards 'layered security' that can combat them.
The layered security approach combines solutions such as desktop anti-virus, server and gateway anti-virus, and content filtering for web and e-mail.
As the use of e-mail and messaging increases, the need for solutions to secure, monitor, archive and retrieve these communications has also become imperative.
South Africa's Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act, for example, places restrictions on spam or unsolicited commercial e-mail which is indeed problematic as many employers are unaware of the amount and type of information being stored by their employees.
What is even more, anything sent from a corporate e-mail address is effectively written on electronic company letterhead. As a result, any views, quotes or discussion can severely impact a company's corporate image.
In order to reduce legal liabilities and protect assets, it is imperative that companies begin to aggressively manage, monitor and regulate e-mail usage through SCM.
In spite of SCM's many, obvious, benefits - the value is not always that clear to companies. If IT administrators do their job perfectly, they are looked upon as just 'doing their job', however, if something goes wrong then the IT department has clearly failed.
To benefit from SCM, companies have to implement a consolidated console for managing all SCM applications along with aggregated reporting, analysis, and control functions so they can reduce IT administration chores as well as personnel costs.
Also, delegating administration will simplify the management of users, therefore determining immediate creation, maintenance, and termination of user access rights.
CA's eTrust SCM solution enables companies to obtain centralised control over intellectual property and confidential data, whether the information is warehoused, in the corporate database or on an employee's mobile device.
Comments IDC: "CA's eTrust SCM is a valuable solution for many customers that need a unified environment to reduce the complexity of purchasing, installing and managing this challenging environment."
For more information, contact Mark Smissen, Computer Associates, 011 236 9111, Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org