January 26, 2001, 3:18 PM — Plans for the IT Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IT-ISAC) were detailed at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington by government officials and representatives from participating vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc., Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.
A group of 19 technology vendors last week took a long-awaited step aimed at improving data security procedures by announcing the formation of an alliance aimed at sharing information about viruses and other potential threats to corporate and government computer networks.
Their goal is to set up a secure mechanism for companies to exchange information about security vulnerabilities with one another and with government agencies.
Internet Security Systems Inc., an Atlanta-based vendor of security management software, will operate the new virtual data-sharing center under the oversight of a board of directors drawn from many of the founding companies. Other companies will be able to join the IT-ISAC initiative for $5,000 per year.
Outgoing Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta said sharing information about network intrusions, security vulnerabilities and measures that companies can take to protect their systems is one of the best ways to safeguard IT infrastructures. It also helps businesses and the government respond more rapidly to attacks, he said.
The IT-ISAC is the fourth such private-sector alliance to be formed, joining similar initiatives in the banking, electricity and telecommunications industries. The establishment of the technology industry alliance comes more than two years after the Clinton administration first urged companies to join the government in efforts to protect critical infrastructure from both physical attacks and cyberattacks.
Mineta, a former CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., called the commitment to information sharing "a very courageous thing to do" on the part of the 19 founding companies.