TORONTO — At a roundtable discussion with reporters in downtown Toronto, a Network Associates executive urged businesses and consumers to guard against computer-related threats like worms and viruses.

“We’ve built the Internet (the house), but forgot to put the doors, the windows and locks on it,” said Gus Malezis, vice-president of sales for the Canada region, and added businesses and consumers need to install the proper security measures in order to offset potential computer-related threats.

And how can it be done? Malezis said part of the answer lies in adopting a multi-tiered approach to security, which isn’t typically done today. “The belief is that a firewall is all you need,” he said, adding that while it’s a common problem between both groups, businesses are generally better educated than consumers on issues of security.

“The corporate space has come a long way in the last two years,” agreed Vincent Gullotto, Network Associate’s anti-virus emergency response team director.

But major work still needs to be done, Malezis added. What’s needed, he said, is a layered security approach involving more anti-virus solutions, firewall, intrusion detection and encryption technology into the mix. “It’s integrating a multi-tiered solution – think of it as an onion,” he said.

And while threats will always be present, deploying the right group of solutions can eliminate much of the harm.

Companies, in particular, need to figure out how to securely deliver e-services both inside and outside the organization. The problem is businesses are stretched and overwhelmed, he said, and lack any real coordinated architectural model.

“Businesses are saying, ‘We’re doing the best we can just trying to keep up and running’ . . . So they don’t have any real (infrastructure) planning process in place.”

Gullotto said there’s encouraging news, however, in that there’s a lot fewer macroviruses that businesses and consumers have to deal with. “Users can use Word and Excel without fear of data loss.”

But, nonetheless, the virus problem is huge with tens of thousands of trojan or backdoor worms, “or what we call cocktails,” popping up on the scene, he added.

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