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Sidebar: Security management for the littler guy

By Drew Robb
February 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Security information management (SIM) systems aren't cheap; prices generally start in the tens of thousands of dollars.
"These products are fairly expensive and tend to be deployed in large environments," says Gartner Inc. analyst Amrit Williams. "They have not approached the middle tier or the small-office/home-office market yet."
But companies that fall outside the Fortune 2,000 do have options when it comes managing their security systems. One is to outsource to a managed security service provider (MSSP) that supports a full-fledged SIM. One MSSP, Unisys Global Infrastructure Services, uses ArcSight Inc. software at its security operations centers in Blue Bell, Pa., Amsterdam, and Wellington, New Zealand.
Scitum SA in Mexico City uses OpenService Inc.'s Security Threat Manager 3 to cut its alerts by a factor of 10,000.
Optin Security Corp. in Southlake, Texas, uses a Network Intelligence Corp. HA series appliance to generate security audits for its customers' compliance reporting.
Using an MSSP allows a company to share both the cost of the SIM technology and the cost of keeping someone on security duty around the clock.
Another option is to track security incidents with the same event-log manager that you would use for network monitoring. There are many of these tools available on the market, and some are inexpensive.
To meet the security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Occupational Health Research Inc. in Skowhegan, Maine, uses Somix Technologies Inc.'s Logalot, which costs $1,090.
There is also an open-source choice called the Open Source Security Information Manager, or OSSIM. OSSIM was developed by employees of IP Soluciones, which manages security for some of Spain's largest banks and telecommunications companies. OSSIM bundles and enhances more than 20 open-source security products, bringing them into a common management interface.
"The main reason for creating OSSIM is to bundle and inherit the robust and mature open-source security products available on the Net," says Dominique Karg, a security architect at Madrid-based IP Soluciones and a member of the OSSIM development team. "There was an obvious need for a console able to integrate and visualize the vast amount of useful information and make it easier for the end user to benefit from these products."
In addition to the bundling and visualization, the OSSIM team added a correlation engine that uses three different methodologies -- logical correlation, cross-correlation and inventory correlation. When there is a valid security event, OSSIM can alert an administrator or take a corrective action, such as installing a firewall rule, killing sessions at the TCP layer or executing a script on an external device. OSSIM can be downloaded, alongwith documentation, at

Robb is a Computerworld contributing writer in Los Angeles. Contact him at

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

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