Fairtec offers 24 hours security service

Faritec Holdings Ltd. on Thursday launched its new Security Operations Centre (SOC), offering managed security services to clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a monthly subscription fee.

The SOC is the nerve center of Faritec's managed security service offering. The center's security specialists pro-actively protect local companies' business assets from hackers, viruses, worms, denial of service attacks and other threats. Not only do they monitor for immediate incidents, but also for patterns as they happen around the world.

Located in Faritec's Johannesburg headquarters, the SOC features bunker-style construction with multiple layers of security. Authorized security specialists gain entry to areas of the center through tiered levels of access, including biometric iris scanning, key-cards and constant video surveillance.

Designed to minimize potential downtime, the SOC provides numerous back-up capabilities for physical infrastructure, including fire suppression systems, Internet connectivity as well as independent heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The center also features a back-up generator, with capacity to power the entire center in case of power outrages.

Speaking at the launch of the center, Roy Blume, divisional manager at BMI-T, estimated that 80 percent of all local companies experienced security breaches during the last year.

The company is expecting its security offering to deliver revenue of R25 million (US$3.6 million) within the first year, and aims to have a revenue stream of approximately R170 million by 2006.

Faritec estimates that a typical client with 10 servers and 1 000 PCs behind one firewall and intrusion detection system could generate up to 20 million security alerts in one month. Of these, approximately 500 to 600 would require analysis, 50 would require intervention and only five might pose a serious business risk.

Hacking -- unauthorized break-ins on computers and networks -- is increasing dramatically, with 10-15 new threats discovered by Faritec every day. "There are over 35,000 Web sites where anyone, anywhere -- as long as they have Internet access -- can download a variety of hacking tools. This has led to an increase in attacks, as perpetrators need significantly less knowledge and time to launch their attacks," continues Love.

Blume says that in 2003, for the first time ever, BMI-T's annual corporate ICT end-user survey ranked security as the leading concern of local CIOs. "We believe that this is due to a number of high profile security breaches, the recent introduction of legislation -- such as the King II Report -- and the increasing number of business processes dependent on network-based applications," he continues.

BMI-T expects the total local ICT security market to grow to nearly R2 billion by 2007. Companies are increasingly looking for external assistance to gain a clear understanding of their risk profile, and to ensure they have the appropriate strategies to address those risks. As a result, the highest growth levels of the market, according to Blume, will be experienced by managed security services, such as that of Faritec.

"A large percentage of SA (South Africa) companies have made significant investments in security technologies, but few have successfully implemented and managed these deployments," says Love. "A managed security service allows companies to maximize their existing investment in security technologies, enhance their security posture, and focus on their core business activities," he continues.

Michael, a security team leader at Faritec, is on the 3 p.m. to midnight shift this week.

In front of Michael is a map of the world, showing where attacks on local companies originate from. For example, most attacks during the month of April originated from the U.S., with China, Canada, the U.K. and Australia making up the five most active countries for malicious computer activity.

"An intruder in your house will normally leave a trail of broken glass and forced locks, but Internet intruders can be in and out with a company's valuable data without anyone noticing," says Michael. "It is our job to work out what is happening, and to do something about it before they become a threat to our clients," he concludes.

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