3 Reasons Why Open Source Means Better Security

rvlsoft/Shutterstock.com

Many U.S. IT professionals prefer open source software to proprietary tools because of increased security. Government agencies are also now taking heed.

Olivier Thierry is the chief marketing officer of Zimbra, a maker of open source collaboration software.

The last time you were online, did you click “Remember me” when a website prompted you to save your login information?

The answer is probably yes, and it was likely motivated by convenience. Many U.S. consumers and business professionals think they’re protecting the security of their bank accounts and personally identifiable information, when really their habits of keeping credit cards on file, hosting free email in the cloud and storing passwords on websites or apps are putting this critical data in jeopardy.

In the wake of major security breaches and attacks on businesses and governments in 2014, both sectors in the U.S. and abroad are identifying and cracking down on the security policies that created these issues in the first place.

For example, a recent report by the Ponemon Institute and Zimbra shows that just as many U.S.-based organizations fail to enforce security and data privacy protocols as those succeeding, while 75 percent of business employees frequently use unauthorized messaging and collaboration applications.

While these habits have dire consequences for private and financial industries, risks in governments impact national security, compliance, tax activities and economic espionage.

Protection from these risks is just one reason three in every four U.S. IT professionals trust open source software more than proprietary tools.

Government agencies are now taking heed of the reasons IT pros prefer open source. Below are a few of the valuable lessons they have already learned.

Enlist the Open Source Army

Companies that employ proprietary software limit their resources for identifying new threats, assessing ongoing risks and vulnerability remediation. Taking heed of this roadblock, agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, choose to tap into the expertise of the open source community in order to combat threats with new perspectives and constant evaluation.

Security breaches continuously reveal new and adapting examples of cyberwarfare methodology, meaning that security risks for agencies are constantly growing in volume and severity. In the face of these risks, the open source community acts as a veritable army, monitoring issues and developing solutions to prevent them on a daily basis.

More than 10,000 government employees, including professionals at state senates and federal agencies like NASA, are active on GitHub for this reason, among others.

Customize Security with Added Commercial Value

The input of the open source community improves security and privacy for the users it affects, but the practice also helps establish lasting policies that protect a business or government agency as a whole.

Another way to promote this holistic integrity is to employ software with commercial backing. Many open source software providers offer products with traditional open source roots, supported by proprietary add-ons that help extend the software and customize it to meet specific needs.

Introducing such products can help governments ensure their software is free of unexpected vulnerabilities, patches are kept up to date, and added components provide additional security protection by making the software uniquely fit into agency environments.

In the Ponemon survey referenced above, 67 percent of respondents found that commercial backing and code transparency reduce an application’s security risks.

Identify and Solve Pain Points

Certain employee behaviors are simply more likely to pose risks to a business or government’s internal system and must be monitored with elevated caution.

Despite being the primary mode of communication for business and IT pros, email can easily jeopardize PII, sensitive information and more because of its role as a critical business application and its history of security inconsistencies.

File sharing through consumer-centric sync-and-share solutions also creates the potential to compromise this data, as does the use of unauthorized messaging platforms. Government agencies can learn from the way businesses assess their employees’ use of these tools, and provide secure alternatives that avoid sacrificing user experience in order to accommodate employee preferences while allowing IT to maintain control.

The consequences of a security breach on a government agency could prove catastrophic.

By leveraging open source software and establishing best practices to protect this data at an ongoing rate, these agencies can take a cue from the private sector and enjoy a sense of trust in the way they store and collaborate on private data.

(Image via rvlsoft/Shutterstock.com)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.