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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Corporate Network Security in Japan Remains Below Appropriate Level
  • November 16, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Firewalls, anti-virus software and other forms of network security have been implemented widely in Japan, yet corporate security systems remain inadequate and there's not enough full-time staff to maintain network security.
    These facts were revealed by Nikkei Communications after it conducted a survey entitled "security state research" targeting some 800 companies in Japan.

    Questionnaires were mailed to 2,088 companies, both listed on the stock exchange and unlisted, in the period from Aug. 3 through Sept. 4. A total of 792 companies responded.

    Details of the research are available in the Nov. 2 edition of Nikkei Communications (Japanese version) as a special feature.

    Asia BizTech focuses on the "status of equipment implementation and corporate management for security."

    The "actual status of damages" has been reported in Asia BizTech in a summary form.

    Firewalls: FireWall-1 as a Standard Off-the-Shelf Product

    First, to be examined is the usage rate of firewalls that have been commonly used as security tools.

    Among the 792 respondents to the questionnaire, 645 companies use the Internet. And among the 645 Internet users, 335 companies link to the Internet through IP connections over leased lines. A total of 287 enterprises out of those 335 users of leased lines acknowledged the use of firewalls, accounting for a high rate of 85.7 percent. This shows the trend of firewall use to guard against illegal invasion from outside the company.

    FireWall-1 of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. of Israel accounts for the highest rate of firewall usage, at 32.9 percent (See chart 1).

    FireWall-1 first appeared in the autumn of 1994, and thus it has an advantage of a product that is solidifying its position as a standard off-the-shelf product, said Akira Watanabe, president of International Computer Security Association Japan, a company that deals with security-related consulting.

    Following FireWall-1 are Gauntlet (8 percent) of Network Associates Inc. and BorderWare (4.5 percent) of Secure Computing Corp. of the United States. The only Japanese product that ranked within the top six is NEC Corp.'s Goahnet.

    As for operating systems and platforms applied to firewalls, UNIX workstations account for 54.6 percent, the survey found. This reflects the qualities of system stability, freedom of configuration, prompt countermeasures that can be taken against bugs, and other factors. Next are Microsoft Windows NT servers (22.7 percent), dedicated machine/all-in-one type of machines (12.1 percent) and PC-UNIX servers (10.9 percent).

    On the topic of implementation of firewalls for internal security of an enterprise network, only 74 companies (11.1 percent) out of 668 that maintain intranets have actually introduced firewall systems.

    Companies with more computer terminals tend to have higher rates of firewall deployment, the survey found. As an example, 40 percent of companies with 5,000 or more terminals have firewalls, while only 10 percent of those with fewer than 500 terminals maintain firewalls.

    Similarly, when making observations on operating systems and platforms of firewalls for internal purposes, Windows NT servers (32.4 percent) surpasses UNIX workstations (31.1 percent) in terms of the usage rate.

    Again, FireWall-1 is the most popular product, accounting for 29.7 percent. Ease of use is the main reason for FireWall-1 to be adopted. Even so, few enterprises have set clear criteria for selecting such products. They tend to think more of business results in Japan as opposed to functionality when introducing firewall products.

    Anti-Virus Software for Clients: Trend Micro Winning Customers

    A security tool with the same importance as firewalls is anti-virus software. The survey questions were separately prepared for server and client machines.

    A total of 561 of the surveyed companies have introduced anti-virus software, accounting for 70.8 percent of the respondents.

    This shows a rapid diffusion of the software when taking into account an implementation rate of about 30 percent just a year or two ago, according to Mitsuhiro Someya, product marketing manager of the marketing department at Trend Micro Inc. of Japan.

    As for products actually introduced on servers, Norton AntiVirus provided by Symantec Corp. of the United States has the largest share (See chart 2). Its success is due to a wide line of server products covering Windows NT, Notes, Exchange and SMTP. However, in terms of total sales of each vendor, Trend Micro Inc. has a slight lead over Symantec. Notably, Trend Micro provides different products for each type of server.

    A so-called standard off-the-shelf product has not yet emerged among anti-virus products for servers. As an example, even Norton AntiVirus is used by only 13.7 percent of the survey respondents. Almost 10 percent of companies utilize products categorized simply as "other products."

    In contrast with the server software, there is a best-seller among anti-virus software for client machines: Virus Buster of Trend Micro. Virus Buster is used by 44.4 percent of the companies, leading Virus Scan in second place at 24.4 percent and Norton AntiVirus in third place at 14.8 percent (See chart 3).

    Insufficient Corporate Measures in Management Systems, Budgets

    The next item is the status of staff assignments for security, and the establishment of corporate rules to handle security issues.

    A total of 599 enterprises have staff dedicated to or serving concurrently in the security area, accounting for 75.6 percent of all the respondents. However, only 23.7 percent actually have staff dedicated to security work.

    Only 15 companies (1.9 percent) answered that they are fully prepared and have clear criteria established to cope with security problems such as illegal access to a server.

    Companies that admitted to "having insufficient security measures" were asked another question to ascertain what they think about items that are lacking for addressing security.

    The answer "lacking in effective management system" received positive replies from almost 70 percent of 450 respondents (or 312 companies). The answer "lacking in security products of hardware/software" received replies from 58.7 percent of those companies and "lacking in operation criteria such as log management" received replies from 55.3 percent, according to the survey.

    Constraints on budgets for security comprise another set of concerns. As for the rate of security-related budgets to all IT-related budgets, 563 companies (71.7 percent) out of 792 answered that their rates are less than 10 percent. A mere 42 companies (5.3 percent) answered at a level of 10 percent or more.

    Apparently, difficulties are seen in identifying returns on investments in procuring equipment and utilization of services for security. This makes it hard for some companies to make relevant decisions on such investments.

    As for the budgets in each group of companies classified by terminal ownership, companies allocating less than 100,000 yen (US$810) account for about 60 percent in the group of companies with fewer than 200 terminals. However, companies with budgets of 1 million yen to 9.99 million yen (US$8,100 - 81,000) account for about 60 percent in the group of companies with 1,000-4,999 terminals.

    By industry, financial and insurance sectors have relatively high budgets. Some 40 percent of companies in those sectors have budgets exceeding 1 million yen.

    However, the majority of businesses in the transportation and telecommunications sectors have budgets of less than 100,000 yen. This amount is equivalent to the annual costs of purchasing anti-virus software for dozens of client computers.

    Chart 1: State of Use Corresponding to Type of Firewall with Interface to the Outside (multiple answer)
    State of use of firewalls for connecting with the Internet are shown here.
    The number of responding companies is 313; all that apply were selected.

    (return to news)

    Chart 2: State of Use Corresponding to Type of Anti-Virus Software for Servers
    The results were obtained by combining product names selected from a specified list in the questionnaire
    and names put into individual entry fields, and grouping those product names.
    The number of responding companies is 561.

    (return to news)

    Chart 3: State of Use Corresponding to Type of Anti-Virus Software for Clients
    This shows the status of use of anti-virus software installed in each terminal.
    The total number of responding companies is 561.

    (return to news)

    Related stories:
    Unauthorized Access Affects 30 Pct. of Japanese Companies
    XF/Paix Virus Shows Up in Japan, IPA Says in Oct. Report
    Hackers Intrude into Systems of Public Research Groups

    (Harumi Yasui and Satoshi Hanzawa, Staff editors, Nikkei Communications)

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    Updated: Sat Nov 14 17:24:29 1998 PDT