Branch Office Managers Nervous About Data Security
Published: April 19, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
According to survey conducted by Certeon, a company that has created security appliances known as the S-Series to secure and accelerate traffic on wide area networks, the managers of branch offices in the world are a bit nervous about data security--and rightly so.
Certeon conducted a survey of attendees at the SharePoint Connections Conference in Orlando, Florida, a few weeks ago, and decided to share the results with the world. The survey respondents were IT managers in the healthcare, manufacturing, government, defense, education, energy, and financial services industries, including the managers of Boeing, Bosch, Coca-Cola and Progressive Insurance. Of the 200 managers surveyed, 67 percent said that they were using virtual private networks (VPNs) to deliver data and applications to their branch offices, but they still believed that despite the encryption and fire walling of VPNs, there was still a security risk. Many IT managers have gone so far as to encrypt the traffic not just on the external Internet portion of the traffic, but from the data center servers right to the desktops in their branch offices. While this improves security, it often degrades application performance.
In fact, 88 percent of respondents said that they had "major issues" when it came to accessing applications from branch offices, and 61 percent said that they wait between 10 and 60 seconds just to open a file that is stored on the data center servers from their branch offices. Poor application response times, poor application access, and lengthy file downloads are all pains in the neck, the IT managers said. Of course, Certeon, which was founded in 2003 and has been funded by venture capitalists Globespan Capital Partners and Sigma Partners, thinks it has the answer to the problem; its security and acceleration appliances for branch offices, which can boost the performance of SSL-encrypted Web serving by several orders of magnitude. Prices start at $6,000, which ain't cheap. But, time is money, and if these WAN accelerators really do work as advertised, it doesn't take that many grumpy employees before it might be cost effective to get the applications running faster.