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News

UK Government Open It Standards Adoption

AlienVault : 12 November, 2012  (Technical Article)
AlienVault comments on the recent news concerning the use of open IT standards by UK government bodies
UK Government Open It Standards Adoption

Alienvault has welcomed news that all government bodies must now comply with open standards principles on IT, but warns about the need to implement – and manage - effective security across what can be a quite disparate range of software.

Richard Kirk of the Unified Security Management solutions specialist, says that, whilst the economic benefits of moving to an open set of standards for hardware and software are excellent, government IT professionals need to be aware of the need to maintain a firm grip on the security software they use.

“There are some excellent open source security tools available,” he said.  “But, like commercial software products, there are challenges related to integrating one or more open source tools with other security tools, open source or otherwise.  What starts out as a free but viable resource can still rack up time and money to implement and integrate effectively.”  

“The good news is that we’ve done that integration work already, and our Unified Security Management platform offers more than 30 best-of-breed security tools—including open source—for a truly comprehensive security solution,” added Kirk.  “Through a single management console, we enable users of our USM platform to enjoy the experience of ‘a single pane of glass’, through which they can gain visibility across all of their security tools,” he said.

“This means that managers can see and respond to threats faster and more efficiently than ever before, as well as maintaining access to best-in-breed open source tools and the power of shared intelligence,” he added.

Mr. Kirk went on to say that publication and adoption of the open standards principles is the final stage in a process that started early last year when the Cabinet Office offered procurement guidance defining open standards in a similar fashion.

Last December, he says, the government decided to move to a public consultation process, which asked how an open standard should be defined, how open standards should be mandated and how those standards should align internationally.

That consultation process, he adds, ended in June of this year - and the announcement by Francis Maude, the Mister for the Cabinet Office, that all government departments must now migrate to the open standards principles, plus the clear economic benefits that open source software brings with it, is the end result.

“Whilst the government is clearly angling for further savings to be made from the move to open standards, there is a danger that some departments may end up duplicating the effort of others. This is why we developed our own Open Threat Exchange, which means that security practitioners from around the world can share information in order to combat the threats that are continuously growing in complexity,” he said.

“The move to open standards principles and open source software will undoubtedly save the government large sums of money, but we would advise all public sector IT managers to look carefully at how their security and governance software is supervised and controlled - and look to the benefits of our Unified Security Management platform and the Open Threat Exchange that continually keeps it ahead of the latest threats,” he added.

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