C. Warren Axelrod

Availability and Response Time Affect Security

Availability is one of the information security domains isn’t it? If it truly is, then it’s something that we tend to ignore, leaving those worries to the operations and business continuity folk. Well, I’m of the school that considers system availability and integrity to be under the purview of the infosec professional. Therefore I have chosen to respond to an article by Matt Richtel and Ashlee Vance, with the title “In a New Age of Impatience, Cutting Computer Start Time,” that appeared on the front page of the New York Times on October 26, 2008. If you have read it, you will recall that it discusses the high level impatience that people have regarding the time that it takes for their various personal computers to start, or boot up. It appears that the Holy Grail for PC equipment and software manufacturers is to have cold starts taking less than 15 – 30 seconds, which would make them competitive with handheld units. As we all know, long delays are not only frustrating but can result in lower productivity, since waiting time is often wasted. But short start-up times can also lead to less security, since individuals will sometimes try to circumvent the security checking software, which has been installed on their machines, as it frequently takes up much of the start time. This is unwise, can be dangerous, and is virtually always against policy.

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