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IBM Automates Security for Databases

IBM has unveiled new software from its Tivoli line that helps companies monitor and protect databases from security threats, users with hostile intentions and viruses.

IBM Tivoli Risk Manager 4.1 now supports the three leading database products in the market, IBM DB2 Universal Database, Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server. It features autonomic characteristics, which the Armonk, N.Y. outfit has been implementing across all of its software lines of late as part of its e-business on-demand strategy to keep systems up and running regardless of obstacles or issues. IBM competes with the likes of Computer Associates, BMC and Peregrine Systems in the management software sector of the IT industry.

Risk Manager 4.1 compares and contrasts database security events with other events across an organization's network, including a company firewall and Web server, and sends automated responses to administrators, such as server reconfiguration, patch deployments and account revocation. Because an administrator has such a wide-open, dashboard view of what is going on, it allows them to determine if security threats are real or false alarms.

The vendor provided an example of how Risk Manager 4.1 might stave off intrusive and destructive behavior. For example, if someone attempted to delete a database entry, an alert could be sent to Risk Manager, which would immediately display user information taken from the database onto the security dashboard to provide administrators the information they need to take action.

Arvind Krishna, vice president of security products, Tivoli Software, IBM, said this is a key component of IBM's Automation Blueprint, a new method for customers to create on-demand electronic-business environments.

"Database technology forms the foundation for many critical business applications and Tivoli software helps protect that data regardless of what database platform our customers are using," Krishna said.

Security for computer systems in general is tremendously important, but database experts, such as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, say that secure databases are of utmost importance. The argument is that the information on databases is lost forever if it is trifled with by hackers, viruses or other issues that hurt database performance.

Businesses have stepped up spending on security in the last couple of years. Gartner recently said 2003 will be the first year in history in which more than 5 percent of the IT budget will be spent on security.

"The focus on critical infrastructure protection means that the government, utilities, transportation and energy sectors will be forced to spend more on security," said John Pescatore, vice president and research fellow at Gartner. "In addition, increased enforcement of copyright laws and liability concerns will force universities to increase security spending. Those vertical industries will be the most attractive targets for security vendors," Pescatore said.

IBM Tivoli Risk Manager 4.1 is available now, but current customers may download the new support for IBM DB2 Universal Database, Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server on IBM's Web site at no additional charge.