Panel: Anti-Virus Measures Are A Critical Business Process
While costs of doing business continue to draw scrutiny from both carriers and agents in the recovering economy, a panel of experts agreed it is critical for businesses to invest in anti-virus technology and to establish and enforce security policies. The remarks came during the recent Comdex Global Technology Marketplace conference held in Las Vegas.
According to Larry Bridwell, content security programs manager for ICSA Labs, Herndon, Va., companies worldwide spent more than $7 billion on security in 2002, with $2.2 billion going toward anti-virus protection. ISCA Labs is an online source for up-to-date information on computer viruses. Determining the cost-effectiveness of anti-virus protection, he explained, includes factors such as anti-virus software licenses and renewals, hardware, use of bandwidth, administration, training, and consideration of possible revenue loss due to virus infections.
Bridwell said the infamous Code Red virus had a $2.6 billion effect on productivity and cost about $1 billion to clean up. Similarly, the Slammer virus had a $1.2 billion effect on productivity and cost approximately the same to clean up. Given the high prices paid by those who are infected, anti-virus technology is “a good investment,” he stated.
The latest trends show more virus attacks targeted at known vulnerabilities in software, he noted. Unlike previous attacks, such viruses dont depend on human vulnerability in order to spread. He predicted that future attacks would present a “mixed threat,” capitalizing on both types of vulnerability. And, while new viruses constantly are being developed, the old ones “keep coming back.”
Primary organizational effects from virus attacks include: lost productivity, computers being unavailable, file corruption, loss of access to data, loss of the data itself and loss of user confidence, Bridwell said. “All of that translates into dollars,” he pointed out, giving companies something against which to measure a return on investment in protection.