With so many threats to business in existence today, the need for security is obvious. But with new threats emerging on a daily basis and with hackers and criminals becoming more inventive, how can a business ensure that it is secured against all potential threats? 

Steffan Rusche, business development manager: data security at Siemens Networks, says there are two distinct types of threats: those that are physically dangerous and those that affect data.
“South Africa has, for a long time now, had a strong focus on physical security such as high walls, barbed wire and security guards, so we have come to grips with this.
“But the more insidious threats to intellectual property and business acumen that have become prevalent over the past few years demand more attention,” he says.
“Network security has begun to take precedence in most organisations thanks to new laws on due diligence and the protection of customer rights in terms of client information stored on a database.
“Also, in the wake of scandals like that of Enron, governments are now working to ensure that the CEOs and CFOs take the responsibility of ensuring proper corporate governance to prevent fraud from occurring.”  He says it is issues such as this, along with the rise of new means of doing business – such as online banking – that have made data and network security the number one challenge facing companies today.  Rusche points out that although many so-called attacks are not actually malicious, they are nonetheless a violation of personal space, and that unlike a physical attack – where you will know it’s happened if it occurs – with data violations, the victim is often unaware it has even happened.  Looking to the future, he says that when they first began, everyone expected viruses to be just a passing phase. This, he says, is not the case and as we move forward, they are likely only to get nastier.  “The key future trend I think will lie in keeping the identities of your corporate customers safe. There is a lot of intrinsic value in client databases, so keeping your customers’ data secure will be vitally important,” he says.
“Security is something that covers every aspect of our lives these days, from our homes to our offices, both in physical and data terms, and each environment is unique.
“The security environment in banking is different to that in warehousing, for example, but because of these specialities, a whole new field has opened up in terms of potential careers within the security domain.  “Regardless of what defences we put in place, the bad guys will inevitably find a way around them, however. The reality is that within a few years, whatever we have in place now will be cracked, but I suppose that this is what keeps us in business.”