Aust business lax on IT security?

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Recent thefts of Customs and Transport computers show the Australian market has failed to take a proactive approach to PC security, one company in the field has claimed.

Last month, two men walked into an airport office used by Federal security agencies unchallenged and stole two servers containing sensitive information including Customs passwords. Then, in an unrelated incident this week, a laptop carrying maritime security data was stolen from the Department of Transport headquarters in Canberra.

Bill Baker, CEO of Sydney-based IT asset management company Resonance, said the incidents highlighted how little attention Australians paid to IT security until it was too late. “The Australian market is reactive rather than proactive,” he said.

Baker said the problem tallied with experience Resonance had trying to interest Australian IT companies in its IT asset management software from US vendor Tangram.

“To get a bit of traction in this marketplace has been very difficult,” he said. “Yet Tangram has been endorsed by Gartner as best-of-breed.”

Resonance launched Tangram here in May, using a direct sales approach and one indirect channel partner, Fujitsu. An implementation of the product starts at $70,000 and can cost millions, Baker admitted. “It's for big business mainly,” he said.

Baker said Tangram had sold well so far in the US. Computer Associates' Altiris and SMS Technologies asset management suites were the US software's main competitors.

Last year, Tangram sales passed the US$15 million-mark, and this year in the States US$12 million-worth had already been sold, he said.

Baker claimed the product was more flexible than many on the market -- it monitored networks in real-time, enabling users to tell if a computer had been tampered with or its data altered. It helped prevent data or hardware theft and software piracy, he said.

“In the US, a similar incident [in a US Federal agency] occurred two years ago, where 50 laptops and 20 servers disappeared and now they are our customer they haven't had any theft issues. They have had issues where they actually prevented hardware from leaving the firm.”

Baker believed such incidents were likely to increase in number and severity over coming years, as IT grew more vital to business processes and corporate governance.

He said the company's channel program would ramp up over time. Resonance is targeting different verticals, including broad-based business management consultancies such as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers alongside technology firms such as Fujitsu and Acumen Business Solutions, Baker said.


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