Security, an issue for everyone to address

With so much attention focused on security issues this week - much of it around the safety of Microsoft's Vista operating system - it is good to see the security industry turning a little of that scrutiny back on itself

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By  Peter Branton Published  February 8, 2007

With so much attention focused on security issues this week - much of it around the safety of Microsoft's Vista operating system - it is good to see the security industry turning a little of that scrutiny back on itself.

At this week's RSA Conference in San Francisco, US, Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, said that the firm's latest products, including Vista, were not going to be 100% safe, however much money it spent on trying to make them so. "The challenges we face in building our products and the challenges everybody faces in administering and using them is that humans are humans and they make mistakes," he told delegates.

However, those challenges are only going to get tougher, as Mundie acknowledged, with ever increasing numbers of people connecting to the internet.

Another of the keynote speakers at the RSA Conference, Symantec CEO John Thompson- a man that is no stranger to a soundbite - said that the growing use of the internet in consumer and business life was changing the rules for everybody. "What used to be clear lines separating enterprises and consumers have now become blurred as networks are extended not only to suppliers and partners, but also to customers," he warned.

This means, Thompson believes, that security is only going to grow in importance, as it becomes something that we do not just leave to the IT department. He argues that companies will need to take more responsibility for maintaining customers' security and hence their confidence.

Far from it for IT Weekly to argue with one of the leaders of the IT industry, but we would contend that if we are really going to build a secure infrastructure then everybody needs to play their part - the IT industry, companies that rely on their products, and us the end-users and customers.

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