Qantas leads Jericho Forum push

Some of Australia's top corporate and government organisations are poised to join a global technology forum aimed at pressing security vendors to adopt new standards.The Jericho Forum, an international user community formed in the UK last year to promote open standards in security, attracted over 100 business and government attendees to its first Sydney meeting recently.

Some of Australia's top corporate and government organisations are poised to join a global technology forum aimed at pressing security vendors to adopt new standards.

The Jericho Forum, an international user community formed in the UK last year to promote open standards in security, attracted over 100 business and government attendees to its first Sydney meeting recently.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, the Department of Finance and NSW Health were just some of the government agencies represented. Delegates from major banks -- Commonwealth, Westpac and St George -- were also in attendance, as well as blue chip companies such as BHP and Telstra.

The Forum has so far held several meetings around the world to promote its agenda.

Qantas, which hosted the meeting, is leading efforts to bolster the Forum's ranks in Australia. Chief information officer Fiona Balfour addressed attendees at the Sydney meeting, outlining her support for the group.

The airline will soon become one of the first Australian members of the Forum. Its representative Shane Tully said several other high-profile Australian companies were also applying to join.

The strong response from Australian enterprise users ("we had to turn some away", he said) reflected support for stronger IT security, according to Tully.

"In a large organisation, if I buy a virtual private network and intrusion detection system and firewall, they don't always integrate very well.

"We'd like to see vendors develop with open standards," Tully, who is also Qantas senior information security architect, said. "Not open source, but open standards."

Since its inception in the UK, the non-profit group has espoused its 'de-perimeterisation' model of security. This advocates a multi-layered approach to security, with controls throughout the network -- such as at the device and application layer, rather than relying on a fortress perimeter.

As reported yesterday by ZDNet Australia, Qantas is reviewing its IT security plans to incorporate the de-perimeterisation model.

"The problem is that perimeter firewall security is not sufficient," Tully said.

"We're looking at ways to influence vendors to offer sets of products that interoperate."

In a recruitment phase in Australia, according to Tully, the Forum has solicited members for its working groups on issues such as standards, requirements, meta-architecture and trust models.