Great Circle Associates Firewalls
(April 1994)

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Subject: Re: system() -> Mosaic
From: bdboyle @ maverick1 . erenj . com (Bryan D. Boyle)
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 08:15:27 -0400
To: firewalls @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: imarr @ london . micrognosis . com (Ian Marr) "Re: system() -> Mosaic" (Apr 11, 12:22pm)
Posted-date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 08:15:27 -0400
References: <9404111122 . AA13439 @ pmsls11>

On Apr 11, 12:22pm, Ian Marr wrote:
>    I don't *really* believe my next question but ...
>    Is an Internet connection as beneficial to the company as the building
>    that everyone works in ?

A building can be replaced.  It is just a building.  The reason that security
is put up between the net and the inside resources is that the destruction or
theft of intellectual property is much more serious, since it is not a 
'fixed asset', but may represent the only true value that an organization 
has.  And besides, systems administrators are not the final arbiters of
this policy, they only enforce the access rules that the company has decided
are in its best interest to enforce.  

As to the web's beneficence to a company that is connected to it?  I wouldn't
want to be sitting in my office if we disconnected the net.  A lot of 
scientists, engineers, and managers would go into withdrawal, and a lot
of information and collaboration would end quickly, to my company's chagrin.

I would say that the net is not a necessary utility YET.  But, like the 
pervasiveness of phones, fax machines (which the net eliminates to a 
certain extent), and ATM cards, it is almost there.  

Ask me in 2 years...

>    And ... $25,000 is *a lot* of money for a secure connection - when you
>    add (or compare) this to the cost of the service, you'd be hard pressed
>    to find a commercial (profit generating) reason for such an expensive
>    connection. [Or can someone contradict me ?]

I don't know.  If you are a 100 million dollar a year operation, and the
ongoing work that is being done on your network may generate 1 billion dollars
in revenue over the next year, than 25,000. is a small price to pay for
security to ensure that outsiders don't have access.  

A more pertinent question, perhaps, is how much would your data be worth
to your competitor (forget for a moment about the college students on 
hormonal overdrive out for the 90's equivalent of 'joyriding')?  (This assumes,
of course, that you have at least some information on your computer systems
that is worth something (no, windoze doesn't count as worth anything...)) 

>    It's a sad fact that your $25,000 is thought of as part of the Internet
>    service cost *not* general security costs for operating at a particular
>    site.

It is also a sad fact that part of the cost of a new home is an electronic
security system, deadbolt locks, and window pins.  If you are supporting 
a full-time connection to the net, monitoring the inside traffic for 
load projection, and charged with protecting the assets of the company from
the data buccaneers, then even $100,000. spent to protect the network, if
it enforces the corporate security and access policy (and they give you
the buck to do so...) while providing a reasonable level of access is not
a Bad Thing (tm).

Just my $.02

Bryan D. Boyle        |Physical: ER&E, Clinton, NJ (908) 730-3338
#include <disclaimer> |Virtual: bdboyle @
 erenj .
"If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Patton
Pardon me, I'm lost, can you direct me to the information superhighway?

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