HULL, Que. — Recent security threats and legislation on privacy and financial accountability has IT managers scrambling to ensure their systems keep their companies on the right side of the law.

George Ho, technology manager for Toronto-based mutual funds firm ClaringtonFunds, attended Enterprise

Breakaway 2004 looking for products that will help his company “”get a better grasp”” on complying with legislation such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Ho said he wants to make sure the infrastructure for his company can easily generate reports on corporate information, in case government securities officials decide to investigate its securities transactions.

Tracking e-mail and other corporate correspondence was a major theme at Enterprise Breakaway, held last month by the Computing Technology Industry Association Inc. (CompTIA), at the Hilton Lac-Leamy Hotel and Casino north of Ottawa.

With legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley in the U.S., companies need to keep e-mail and other records for a certain length of time, said Harry Zarek, chief executive officer at Toronto-based IT service firm Compugen Inc.

In some cases, executives will have to retrieve a message from several years ago within hours, said Frank Abate, chief executive officer of Infinity Technologies Inc., a Mississauga, Ont.-based IT services firm.

“”There’s all kinds of data that companies are going to be forced to retrieve on a few hours notice,”” Abate said.

Security was another major topic at Breakaway. Ho said he’s looking for a security product that will stop malicious code from entering through the firewall, and one that can provide reports on major security events. He is particularly intrigued by two products — BorderWare Technologies Inc.’s MXtreme Mail Firewall and Fortinet Inc.’s FortiGate, which combines anti-virus and firewall functions in one device.

Security products that perform several functions, such as anti-virus and firewall, are an advantage for small companies, because IT managers don’t need to pay licence fees under several different contracts, said Graham Bushkes, Fortinet’s country manage for Canada.

One device to secure it all

Kevin Krempulec, Canadian senior district manager for channels and small and medium business at Symantec Corp., agreed. Most small to mid-sized organizations don’t have many IT workers, and are therefore looking for one device that will do several functions, Krempulec said.

He said large organizations should buy “”best of breed”” products that focus on one function, such as anti-virus, firewall, spam filtering or intrusion detection.

David Hall, director of product marketing for Mississauga, Ont-based BorderWare, advises users against buying all-in-one devices.

“”We’re certainly not in favour of one device that does everything,”” Hall said. “”A single network security device is probably not a viable solution today.””

An all-in-one device is exactly what Henry Thuenissen was looking for at Enterprise Breakaway.

Theunissen, vice-president of IT at Toronto-based William F. White International Inc., supports about 200 users in eight different locations over a wide-area network. He wants a product that will perform several functions, including anti-virus, anti-spam and intrusion prevention.

Theunissen added it takes too much time to administer several different security devices over the same network.

Like ClaringtonFunds’ Ho, Theunissen is also looking at FortiGate, which is available in 13 models, ranging from the 50A for employees working from home to the 4000, designed for both service providers and very large organizations.

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