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May 2003

Shiny-blinky things: Security of IT security products often overlooked

Youch! Just when the propeller heads thought the tide had turned in the "security vs. features" war, along comes proof that shiny-blinky things* are exactly what the majority of security pros covet most in the IT security products they buy. My fear is that the demand for features and functionality will lead to "bad" shiny-blinkiness: Features for features' sake; features at the expense of security engineering. As part of our 2003 Product Survey, we asked more than 1,100 IT security professionals what they valued most in a security product. Nearly 60 percent said "features and functions." About one-fifth of respondents said they valued the product's fit into their existing infrastructure. Less than 10 percent mentioned the product's own security. Again, I say: Youch. It's a rite of passage for security geeks to complain about vendor emphasis on features over security. You don't have to look far to find list servers or chat rooms or seminars where feature-bashers gather to decry security's sacrifice at the altar of ...

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