[ISN] Tech companies: Do as Bond would do

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Jun 28 2002 - 01:20:20 PDT

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    By Tiffany Kary 
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    June 27, 2002, 5:05 PM PT
    NEW YORK--The head of a government-based venture capital firm pleaded
    to the information technology industry: Be like James Bond.
    The fictional British spy used technology to his advantage when
    tracking down criminal masterminds. But in the real-world fight
    against terrorism, the situation shouldn't be different, Gilman Louie,
    chief executive of In-Q-Tel, said during a keynote speech at the
    TechXNY trade show here.
    "I am asking all of you in this room to do one thing: to think about
    how we can employ these technologies to give ourselves a competitive
    edge," Louie said. His speech, called "James Bond Saves the USA,"  
    stressed that the government's ability to analyze and distribute
    information quickly is the greatest weapon it has in diffusing
    terrorist threats.
    The cooperation of IT companies in the fight against terrorism is not
    a new call. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government proposed
    several funding initiatives to spur technology innovation that could
    help so-called homeland security.
    In-Q-Tel is a nonprofit technology company funded by the CIA. The
    company identifies technologies that could be of use to national
    security efforts and works with businesses to develop technologies as
    The partnership of technology companies and government was evident at
    this year's show. For the first time, the FBI had a booth, and FBI
    agent Harold Hendershot gave a keynote speech--a spot usually reserved
    for industry executives. Security was one of the most popular themes
    on the floor and on discussion panels this year, according to show
    director Christina Condos of CMP Media.
    Louie urged IT companies to help solve technology problems for
    corporate America because at the same time, he said, those
    technologies could eventually help the government's cause.
    "If we want to make IT effective for the government, we have to make
    it effective for the people," Louie said.
    In-Q-Tel has invested in 30 companies since its launch in 1999. More
    than 12 technologies from those companies are being used by the
    government, Louie said.
    Some of the companies In-Q-Tel has invested in include Attensity, a
    Salt Lake City-based data integration company; Stratify, a Mountain
    View, Calif.-based database management company; and SafeWeb, an
    Emeryville, Calif.-based security company.
    Managing information overload
    Louie outlined a number of problems for which his company is seeking
    technology fixes. Keeping track of various information amid a deluge
    of spam or unwanted e-mail is a challenge many individuals face--and
    one companies should address aggressively, he said.
    The same technologies that can solve "America's e-mail problem" and
    "eliminate the phone tag game" will also help intelligence analysts do
    their jobs, he said.
    Technologies to improve data mining or anything that can "save a
    worker 20 minutes a day" will also help the government, he added. "We
    cannot afford to have this country buried in information it can't
    Security for hardware and equipment is another issue where there is
    much room for corporate and government crossover, Louie said. The
    government needs laptops that are secure and tamper-proof if lost.  
    Corporate CEOs require similar safeguards, as customer lists and
    corporate secrets are often kept on handhelds or laptops.
    Current methods of security only slow down portable devices, Louie
    said, and often cause file access times to lag by as much as a factor
    of ten.
    Also on the radar for companies should be better practices for backing
    up data and planning for recovery in the event of a disaster. The
    current technologies aren't adequate for the government--or the
    private sector, Louie said.
    Storing all backup data in one secure place--the "silo" philosophy--or
    simply "mirroring" or copying data isn't good enough, he said.
    "I have a fail-proof test," Louie said. "Tell everyone to stay home
    one day. Give them no access to the company's intranets and see if the
    company can still do business."
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