[ISN] Vendors Pushed For Greater Integration

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Dec 30 1998 - 13:26:59 PST

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    Vendors Pushed For Greater Integration
    In 1998, security was hot; enterprise management was not.
    Several well-publicized hacker attacks--and catchy TV commercials (IBM's
    "Go back to sleep ...")-- helped IT managers present a case for strong
    network security. 
    On the enterprise management side, IT managers were stymied in delivering
    quality management services across the enterprise by unfulfilled vendor
    On the security front, IT managers learned that attacks can come from
    anywhere, both from inside and outside an organization. 
    A rise in Internet-based attacks piqued IT managers' interest in tools and
    services that could help them determine if their networks and systems are
    vulnerable to hacker attack. 
    This doesn't mean inside attacks--in the past considered the greater
    problem--are diminishing, but the threats from outside are increasing. 
    External threats have spurred demand for vulnerability scanners to probe
    networks and systems for security holes, and for intrusion-detection
    systems (IDS), high-tech burglar alarms that alert IT administrators when
    suspicious activity is detected. 
    In addition, vendors such as Cisco and Network Associates Inc. validated,
    if not consolidated, the market through acquisitions earlier in the year. 
    "There's no question there was a high level of interest" in these
    intrusion-detection tools, Forrester Research analyst Ted Julian said. IDS
    may not have rolled off the assembly line as fast as firewalls did in
    their first years on the market, but Julian expects a ramp up next year as
    IDS matures. 
    The market for assessment and detection systems is projected to grow from
    $50 million in 1997 to $100 million this year, according to the Aberdeen
    Public-key infrastructures (PKI) also generated user interest, as vendors
    such as Entrust Technologies Ltd. and VeriSign Inc. continued to spread
    the digital certificate gospel. 
    PKI solutions are a set of security services including authentication,
    encryption and certificate management usually provided by a certificate
    authority. Digital certificates, a key component of a PKI, are electronic
    signatures that verify that a person sending a secure message is actually
    the sender. 
    "We've seen a lot more user interest in PKIs, but there's a difference in
    interest and wide-scale deployment," Aberdeen Group analyst Eric
    Hemmendinger said. "There was a lot of pilot work this year, which should
    result in significant deployments in 1999," he said. 
    Julian, however, doesn't think there will be major deployments until 2000
    and beyond. "There will be a much more gradual ramp up of PKIs, [compared
    to] intrusion-detection systems," because the infrastructure needed to
    support PKIs is more comprehensive, he said. 
    It was harder getting users to buy PKI solutions because their plates were
    filled with Y2K problems or Gigabit Ethernet deployments, said William
    Crowell, CEO of Cylink Corp. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, is
    using that company's PKI technology to let users download postage from the
    Although more IT managers understand the importance of security, there
    still is a need to educate CEOs and other senior executives, Crowell said.
    Senior management needs a better sense of what the right level of security
    is for their company, and how to get a better return on investment, he
    While the security market was hopping in 1998, the network and systems
    market remained largely dormant from the IT manager's point of view.
    During the year, vendors made many promises for service level management,
    policy-based control and standards-based application integration, but very
    few users actually deployed any of the new technologies. 
    Service level management, the process of measuring the performance of
    specific network services or applications, was perhaps the most ballyhooed
    idea of 1998, and one of the most disappointing.  Although vendors
    introduced scores of products tagged as service level management tools,
    many IT managers could not deploy or even define the service level
    management concept. 
    "I was just talking with my [management vendor] yesterday, and they still
    don't think I understand service level agreements the way they do," said
    Brian Seal, who is responsible for managing database systems for the
    county of Henrico, Va. "There needs to be more clarity on what to monitor
    and what the benefits are." 
    In a survey of 100 IT and network managers who read InternetWeek, 60
    percent of respondents said they have a service level management plan in
    place, according to Enterprise Management Associates, the consulting firm
    that conducted the survey. Yet 21 percent of respondents could not define
    the term. 
    "There are too many confusing messages coming from the vendors," said Rick
    Sturm, a principal at Enterprise Management Associates. "Right now, [IT
    managers] don't know what to do." 
    A similar confusion surrounds the notion of policy-based management, which
    was touted throughout 1998 as the solution for managing switched networks
    and IP quality of service (QoS). Although major vendors such as Cisco and
    3Com launched policy management for their own hardware, only small
    companies such as Ukiah Software Inc. and IPHighway Inc. have developed
    multivendor tools for controlling QoS. 
    "IP networks don't behave rationally, they behave randomly," said Gordon
    Smith, vice president of marketing at Ukiah. "But [IT managers] are
    finding that a best-effort network is not going to cut it for
    mission-critical applications." 
    Vendors also continued their struggle to integrate disparate management
    applications. While enterprise management vendors such as Computer
    Associates and Tivoli Systems Inc. offered some integration through their
    broad-ranging frameworks, most other vendors focused on standards now
    being developed by the Desktop Management Task Force. 
    In 1998, the DMTF accepted full responsibility for developing the Common
    Information Model (CIM), which describes a standard method for storing and
    transmitting management data, and Directory-Enabled Networking (DEN),
    which describes a common method for linking directory data. 
    "The CIM standard is an important direction for us. But customers don't
    have it right now," said Martin Neath, executive vice president at Tivoli,
    a DMTF member. "DEN will also be an important part of the work that the
    DMTF does, but it isn't all that well defined." 
    Such comments typify the discussion of network and systems management
    issues in 1998. Many in the industry, especially IT managers, hope the
    technology will become more concrete in 1999. 
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