Product Focus: Security and Encryption Tools
Until recently, internet security was like a castle with a moat: a crude perimeter to keep out attackers and other threats. With the advent of web 2.0 applications and the proliferation of mobile devices, however, internet security has had to evolve rapidly. For many schools, customization has become an increasingly important aspect of security suites. Firewall and filtering tools must now be flexible enough to serve the varied needs of students, faculty, staff, and guests, and must also address emerging security threats on mobile devices.
Schools must balance the need to protect their networks from intrusions, malicious code, and spam e-mail, while still giving their users the freedom to participate in wikis, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking and content-sharing sites.
Take Facebook, for example. The site is a conduit to hundreds of applications ranging from games to networking, with access points for music and entertainment services. Rather than block Facebook entirely, schools may want to target specific apps that open the network up to malware and put a strain on network resources, degrading bandwidth and slowing e-mail.
To that end, experts say, IT staffers should pursue security solutions that allow them to set policies for different groups--faculty, students, and staff--with granular, rather than wholesale, restrictions.