March 11, 2009, 7:07 PM — In January I addressed the portfolio of security requirements for the SaaS environment. This post focuses exclusively on perimeter security.
Perimeter security is a firm's first line of defense against intrusion, malicious activities, malware and spam. Firms considering leveraging SaaS need to be sure the SaaS provider has the tools in place to support the level of security required. The defense needs to be strong enough to thwart the blackhats, but porous enough for users to be able to accomplish their day-to-day activities.
Before we get into the details of what to look and ask for in perimeter security, here are a few facts specific to email and spam: In August 2008, Yale University received 123 million emails, of which 94.54 percent were spam. SpamLaws.com quotes a study by the Radicati Research Group Inc., a research firm based in Palo Alto, California, stating that spam costs businesses $20.5 billion annually in decreased productivity as well as in technical expenses. In the same article, SpamLaws also quotes Nucleus Research as estimating that the average loss per employee annually because of spam is approximately $1934. These facts are only for email. There are substantial business impacts related to identity management, access management, DNS protection, Web access management, and industry compliance. The negative business impact related just to email issues is huge. Imagine the scale of the total impact when all of the perimeter security components are aggregated.
Perimeter security is comprised of a collection of management tools, each one providing specific protection. The collection of tools include: