From the Editor

Network World Canada’s Signature Series strives to give readers as much information as possible on some of the industry’s most timely and relevant issues. The topic for this series, network security, should be at or near the top of every network manager’s list of priorities.

By now everyone has heard of (or experienced) the Melissa and Happy99.exe viruses. While viruses should be cause for concern, network security does not begin and end with virus scanning. Hackers who manage to gain access to a corporate network can extract sensitive mission-critical information and ultimately wreak more mayhem than even the most malicious virus without causing any apparent damage to a network.

The first piece in our series examines remote access security. More and more firms are granting remote users access to corporate networks to make employees more productive, whether the employees are on the road, at a branch office, or at home for the weekend.

Unfortunately, rolling out remote access makes networks more vulnerable to attack, as every workstation and laptop connecting back to the corporate network becomes a potential portal into a company’s most sensitive systems and data. The article examines how network managers can ensure that remote users are accessing corporate networks securely.

Following the remote access feature is a product review rating a variety of tools used to scan networks for potential security weaknesses and nefarious hackers. The products examined included BindView Development’s Network Security Suite, Computer Associates’ eTrust Intrusion Protection, WebTrends’s Security Analyzer 2.1 Enterprise Edition and TripWire Security Systems’s TripWire 2.1 for Windows NT. The article’s author, Tere’ Parnell is a telecom consultant with more than 18 years of experience in telecommunications and data networking.

NWC staffer Kimberly Chapman follows up the review by giving readers her two cents worth on e-mail security. Businesses obviously have a responsibility to check incoming mail as best they can for viruses, but Chapman argues that e-mail senders bear just as much responsibility to ensure that any messages they send are clean.

Networld+Interop is probably the premiere forum for vendors displaying the latest and greatest in network security and Ernst & Young eSecurity managers Stuart McClure and Joel Scambray recount their findings at this fall’s show.

It’s difficult to think of anyone better qualified to comment on security tools than the president of a network security consulting firm that deals with security issues every day. UNIS LUMIN Inc. president John Breakey looks at what his firm discovered when he asked his team the question, “How do we know we’re secure?”

Finally, John Curtis, an engineer with The Tolly Group, a N.J.-based consulting firm, examines the advantages and disadvantages of the VPN security technology IPSec.

While we make no pretensions about a 12-page section being able to give network managers all the information they need to know about security, we hope you find the articles informative and helpful.

Whether you concur with what’s contained in the following pages or vehemently disagree with what we’ve written, please give us you feedback.

— Michael Martin