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State of EBusiness - Security

What is your view of the State of EBusiness security?

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In today's world of high competition and rapid economic changes, where does one stand? This is a question which I believe every CIO tries to answer while making decisions and planning for the future. In recent years, businesses have undergone a tremendous change. Technology has changed our lifestyle and for the businesses, the way they do business. Websites are no more series of static information, but self-serving portals; Intranets now work as a knowledgebase engines; and for me, I don't go to bank anymore!

From Business to E-business- "E-business" is a term understood and adopted differently among executives. For some "e" works as a strong selling point. For others e-business is "a bridge to the future". For many executives, e-business means discussing how to use it to increase return to their shareholders, improve profitability, expand markets, accelerate time to market, provide flexibility, and keep their customers, business partners, and employees happy. As far as their pockets are concerned, they've already made a significant investment in infrastructure technologies ranging from ERP and CRM systems; data warehouses; supply, demand, and manufacturing systems linked to portals; Web and application servers; and other required back-office and network systems. At the very least, executives expect to leverage this investment to carry them forward to meet the emerging world of e-business. But there's a gap between strategy and execution.

While there are clear advantages to forming B2B systems using Internet technologies & communication infrastructures, there are hard realities when implementing those strategies. Analysis shows that at times the cost of implementations are really high, the resulting e-business structures aren?t flexible and the results don?t always meet expectations. Why?

The growing importance of privacy in e-business is forcing enterprises to change the way they approach security. The demands of allowing partners, customers, and sometimes, even competitors inside the eBusiness infrastructure multiplies the Security challenges. The major stumbling blocks here are identity management and the security processes- authentication, authorization and auditing. With a foundation that integrates these essential capabilities, an e-business can become increasingly flexible, effective, and inexpensive to maintain.

What will it take? It requires a close coordination of both technical and management policies and procedures to create a high-performance e-business security infrastructure.

There's a lot of time and cost associated with network security and as a result, many corporations must rethink the overall network strategy and its effectiveness in enabling enterprise-wide business objectives.

Enabling secure relationships
Secure relationships are the building blocks of all business processes and interactions. Businesses today deal with millions of customers, many of whom they don't even see face to face. To offer the highest standards of service and convenience, companies need to provide their customers with secure Web access to the back-office systems, enabling status assessment, purchases and much more. Also, the business partners may require access to systems in distributed network environment. All this combined means that companies end up sharing portions of internal systems, applications and knowledge bases with business partners.

This was first published in September 2002

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