Sweet dreams

If you are an information security manager, quite a few things probably keep you from sleeping peacefully at night. Security vulnerabilities in operating systems and application software that make networked systems easy targets for attacks are being discovered daily. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. New security challenges arise with new technologies, and services are emerging that help boost productivity, ensure information sharing and collaboration, and usher in a new era of e-government and e-commerce. So it would be no surprise if you have many restless nights.

Fortunately, technologies that can help you mitigate risk and fortify your network infrastructure are available. In the following special report, we examine four areas of concern and the technologies that can help you protect critical assets while providing a platform for the secure exchange of information and online transactions.

We start with an examination of automated patch management. It may not be a panacea, but it can help you plug a good percentage of those security holes that make your systems vulnerable. Then, we look at some advances in identity management that will help you not only determine who is allowed on your network and what assets they can access but also what they are doing while they are there. Next, we look at smart cards: Will they emerge as the most effective tamper-resistant credential for access to buildings and networks for many federal agencies? And finally, we explore threat management and examine the strategies and underlying technologies you need to block attacks and intruders. As one security expert points out, "no network is perfect." Your task is to reduce the risks as much as you can to protect your information technology infrastructure. We hope these articles will help you in that task and make your dreams sweeter.

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