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Issue Date: June 2004 (es)

Faritec launches R8 million Security Operations Centre

1 June 2004

Faritec recently launched its new R8 million Security Operations Centre (SOC), offering managed security services to clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a monthly subscription fee.
The only one of its kind in Africa, the SOC is amongst the most advanced security facilities in the world and is the nerve centre of Faritec's managed security service offering. The centre's security specialists pro-actively protect South African companies' business assets from hackers, viruses, worms, denial of service attacks and other threats. Not only do they monitor for immediate incidents, but also for patterns as they happen around the world.
Located in Faritec's Johannesburg headquarters, the SOC features bunker-style construction with multiple layers of security. Authorised security specialists gain entry to areas of the centre through tiered levels of access, including biometric iris scanning, key-cards and constant video surveillance.
Designed to minimise potential downtime, the SOC provides numerous back-up capabilities for physical infrastructure, including fire suppression systems, Internet connectivity as well as independent heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems. The centre also features a back-up generator with capacity to power the entire centre in case of power outages.
Speaking at the launch of the centre, Roy Blume, divisional manager at BMI-T, estimated that 80% of all South African companies experienced security breaches during the last year and that the probable cost to the economy of these breaches was over R1 billion.
Faritec's three shifts of security specialists are protecting, to date, 14 South African companies ranging from large JSE listed companies to mid-size enterprises. The company is expecting its security offering to deliver revenue of R25 million within the first year and aims to have a revenue stream of approximately R170 million by 2006.
Faritec estimates that a typical client with 10 servers and 1000 PCs behind one firewall and intrusion detection system could generate up to 20 million security alerts in one month. Of these, approximately 500 to 600 would require analysis, 50 would require intervention and only five might pose a serious business risk.
"We can offer South African clients a greater degree of security than they could ever do on their own," says Gordon Love, head of security services at Faritec. "Most companies simply do not have the resources, technology and information to gather and analyse such vast amounts of security data".
Hacking - unauthorised break-ins on computers and networks - is increasing dramatically with Faritec discovering 10-15 new threats every day. "There are over 35 000 websites where anyone, anywhere - as long as they have Internet access - can download a variety of hacking tools. This has led to an increase in attacks as perpetrators need significantly less knowledge and time to launch their attacks," continues Love.
Blume says that in 2003, for the first time ever, BMI-T's annual corporate IT end-user survey ranked security as the No.1 concern of South African CIOs. "We believe that this is due to a number of high profile security breaches, the recent introduction of legislation - such as the King II Report - and the increasing number of business processes dependent on network-based applications," he continues.
BMI-T expects the total South African IT security market to grow to nearly R2 billion by 2007. Companies are increasingly looking for external assistance to gain a clear understanding of their risk profile and ensure they have the appropriate strategies to address those risks. As a result, the highest growth levels of the market, according to Blume, will be experienced by managed security services such as Faritec's.
"A large percentage of South African companies have made significant investments in security technologies, but few have successfully implemented and managed these deployments," says Faritec's Love. "A managed security service allows companies to maximise their existing investment in security technologies, enhance their security posture and focus on their core business activities," he continues.
Michael, a security team leader at Faritec, is on the 3 pm to midnight shift. Within the SOC, in front of Michael, a map of the world appears, showing where on the globe attacks on South African companies are originating. For example, most attacks during the month of April originated from the United States, with China, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia comprising the top five most active countries for malicious computer activity.
"An intruder in your house will normally leave a trail of broken glass and forced locks, but Internet-intruders can be in and out with a company's valuable data without anyone noticing," says Michael. "It is our job to work out what is happening and do something about it before they become a threat to our clients," he concluded.
For more information contact Tara-Anne Yates, Faritec, 011 800 7448, tyates@faritec.co.za


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