More Dollars Aimed at Defence

Increased awareness means that European and US firms will boost security spending. How much depends on what companies are willing to risk Blame the hackers. Blame the pressure to be first-to-market. Blame the paranoia being spread by the press. All of the above have persuaded companies that they need to reach deeper into their pockets to update virus definitions, install firewalls, and set up virtual private networks.

A report by London-based research firm Datamonitor estimates global economic damage caused by security breaches total more than $US15 billion each year. In response to these threats, Datamonitor projects that international security spending will reach $US30.3 billion by 2005. Datamonitor pegs public key infrastructure and virtual private networks as the largest areas of investment, areas that will reach $US2.6 billion and $US3.9 billion respectively by 2005.

The report also says that European firms have been particularly lax in protecting themselves from security threats. In the survey, more than 50 per cent of 300 CIOs and IT directors from across Europe reported that security spending accounted for 5 per cent or less of their IT budgets in 2000.

But that's about to change.

"Awareness was pretty low for a long time," says Verena Salzmann, a consultant with Datamonitor. "The problem with security is it came as a bit of an afterthought. A change of thought is under way, however. Security is becoming part of the overall business strategy."

Increased sensitivity to security is needed, Salzmann says, if e-commerce revenues are to hit predicted figures. Datamonitor claims that global business-to-business revenues will hit $US5.9 trillion by 2005, while business-to-consumer revenues reach $US663 billion.

"Hackers continue to find new ways to break into systems. If anything, security will become a larger part of any e-business strategy," Salzmann says. "The security industry realises that and products are becoming more sophisticated and user friendly."

Forrester Research (US) released a report in October 2000 asking senior security managers at US-based Global 2500 firms what their security plans would be for the near future. The survey found these firms planned to increase spending on security by 55 per cent in the next two years as average IT security spending rises from $US2.9 million in 2000 to $US4.5 million in 2002. By 2004, security spending would reach a total of $19.7 billion nationwide. Respondents cited the Internet as the main reason for ramping up their security efforts.

"Security isn't really safety, it's being satisfied with a certain level of risk. Firms are reasonably comfortable most of the time," says Frank Prince, a senior analyst in e-business infrastructure at Forrester. "It takes some event to shake people up. The Internet has brought a prolonged series of these kinds of events, so the changes that it drives here are so comprehensive."

- Jon Surmacz


Read Like a Pro

You may think only readers are finding today's magazines a bit on the hefty side, but trust us, we editorial types have noticed too. At Folio: Show 2000, a conference put on by Folio, a trade association for magazine publishers, the issue of fat magazines was unavoidable. Rita Stollman, president of editorial management strategies in New York, told of a company that brought in an expert to instruct staff on how to read a magazine - that is, how to take a more structured approach to reading a magazine. It's common sense, but worth sharing. Rather than be intimidated by thick magazines or (horrors!) thumb through them aimlessly, Stollman says to do the following:

1. Read the cover to see what's getting the biggest play.

2. Read the table of contents carefully to see what the stories are about.

3. Go through the entire issue only reading the headlines, introductory text, subheads, photo captions, quotations emphasised within the story, charts and graphs - basically anything that's highlighted. Together these elements should tell you different and important aspects of each story and allow you to understand its main points.

4. Then go back and read the appropriate stories as time allows. Starting with this one, right?

- Sarah D Scalet

Snooze You Can Use

By Carole Bodger

Don't deprive yourself of nature's best medicine. Here's how to make sure you get the proper dose of rest. The workaholics among us would love to add useful hours to the day, but without adequate rest our health will suffer - and being sick takes considerable time indeed Lowered immunity to illness and stress, increased irritability, clouded thinking, slowed reaction time and physical weakness are just some of the negative effects of sleep deprivation. We make more mistakes, become forgetful and are more likely to react with our emotions instead of our heads. Even mild sleep loss can take a serious toll. More than 100 million Americans regularly fail to get a good night's sleep, according to a report by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in the US. If counting sheep doesn't help, try these 10 easy bedtime tips.

Ten Steps to a Deep Sleep

1. Don't eat a heavy meal or drink too much (of anything) late in the day. Your body will have to stay awake to properly digest the food, and trips to the bathroom will interrupt whatever sleep you do get.

2. Cut back on caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Avoid these stimulants - including soft drinks and chocolate - during and after dinner.

3. Follow a regular sleep schedule. Try to keep your internal sleep clock running on time, try to go to and get out of bed at the same hours every day, including weekends. Regular times for meals, chores and other activities also help you to establish patterns.

4. Develop a presleep ritual. Consider a warm bath, a small glass of warm milk (milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid with sedative effects) and a chapter of a relaxing book. Remember: the purpose is to wind down, so skip the suspense thrillers.

5. Don't nap to catch up. The proper balance of mental and physical activity during waking hours will help you sleep better at night.

6. Make your bedroom a stress-free zone. Keep tension-filled tasks - like office work and required reading - out; keep the shades down and the television off.

7. Invest in a quality mattress and bedding. The benefits include both restful nights and more comfortable days.

8. Don't force yourself to slumber. Go to bed when you're tired and ready to fall asleep.

9. Exercise regularly. People with sleep disorders who participated in a moderate exercise program enjoyed better sleep quality, fell asleep faster and slept longer than those who didn't exercise, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. But don't put off exercising until too late in the day. The AASM recommends a minimum of six hours between sleep and a vigorous workout.

10. Don't lose sleep about how much sleep you need. The amount of sleep required varies so much from person to person and at different stages of life that putting a number on how many hours you should get could keep you tossing and turning all night long. One rule of thumb: If you find yourself yawning through the day, you need more.


Getting Together to Get Creative

By Christopher Lindquist

COLLABORATIVE PRODUCT COMMERCE (CPC) - using the Internet to build a more efficient product development process by providing companies and departments with fast, convenient access to relevant information - is on the cusp of a dramatic popularity increase.

A recent report by Boston-based Aberdeen Group - "Beating the Competition with CPC" - predicts that the market for hardware, software and services related to the nascent technology space will grow from $US3.2 billion in 2000 to more than $US49 billion in 2005. According to the report, ever-increasing pressure on manufacturers to bring fresh products to market will force these companies to find new ways of gaining an edge on their competitors. In the past, companies have turned to enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management as a means of staying ahead. CPC will become the next logical step, the report indicates, particularly as manufacturers move from a "make-to-stock" to a "build-to-demand" model.

According to Aberdeen, manufacturing itself is also in flux. Rather than creating and assembling all parts within a company, manufacturers now rely more heavily on building products based on modular components from a variety of suppliers. Using CPC, suppliers, manufacturers and customers can access information about a given product from a pool of shared information. The report notes that this pool can contain a variety of data, ranging from design information to customer feedback. By providing this information to everyone involved in the supply chain, development times and associated costs can drop significantly.

A Sheepish Consultant?

A shepherd is herding his flocks in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new Jeep Cherokee advances out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and a YSL tie, leans out of the window and asks the shepherd: "If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looks at the yuppie, then at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers: "Sure!"

The yuppie parks the car, whips out his notebook, connects it to a cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the Internet where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system, scans the area, opens up a database and some 60 Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas. Finally he prints out a 150-page report on his hi-tech miniaturised printer, turns round to our shepherd and says: "You have here exactly 1586 sheep!"

"This is correct. As agreed, you can take one of the sheep," says the shepherd.

He watches the young man make a selection and bundle it in his Cherokee. Then he says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me my sheep back?"

"Okay, why not," answers the young man.

"You are a consultant," says the shepherd.

"This is correct," says the yuppie, "How did you guess that?"

"Easy," answers the shepherd. "You turn up here although nobody called you. "You want to be paid for the answer to a question I already knew the solution to. And you don't know anything about my business because you took my dog."


Before You Leap

Planning to adopt an integration tool for your large organisation? Terence O'Donovan, director of technology for DataMirror in Toronto, an enterprise application integration platform provider, suggests considering these points first.

Scalability Replacing point-to-point interfaces with a tool becomes senseless if the tool can only easily manage a small percentage of those interfaces.

Performance The tool must have a high throughput of data.

Ease of Deployment The ability to change certain parameters (source name, target name and so on) is essential.

Centralised Administration Interfaces must be able to be administered automatically and from a central place.

Straight Through Processing/Zero Latency The ability to deliver target data as soon as possible after reading the source data is important for many applications.

Heterogeneous Sources To turn data into information, you must be able to join data from heterogeneous sources.

Security Support for various security standards is required. Good, hard-to-reverse standards at the moment include Secure Sockets Layer, IPSec and Pretty Good Privacy.

Partners For large enterprisewide projects, a company must have good partnerships with respectable systems integrators, with a base staff already trained in the product.

Training The better the training program the quicker the enterprise will realise its return on investment.

Support A good, tiered support function (offering up to 24/7 telephone support and a knowledge base) will help alleviate inevitable problems.

User Group An organised user base - to share experiences, good practices, tips and tricks - is invaluable in heightening the ROI of the project.

References Before investing in a tool, always check references from well-respected companies that have that tool in production.