Sun rises on Solaris 8

Sun Microsystems is promising to crank up control and security features for its users with the worldwide introduction of the Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

Sun Microsystems is promising to crank up control and security features for its users with the worldwide introduction on Tuesday of the Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

HONGKONG ( - The new industrial-strength software platform was designed to cater to enterprises that require strict control over internal access to system data and resources, according to Sun.

Paul Li, Sun's director of marketing for Greater China, said the Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment enabled organisations to process information on multiple sensitivity levels based on each user's "need-to-know" classification.

Users are supposed to be only given access to information based on verification of who they are and then given access to only the information they are authorised to see.

"A trusted operating environment helps ensure sensitive data and classified information is properly protected," Mr Li said.

Packaged firewall and access control software are the technologies generally used by organisations to prevent unauthorised external access to their internal information systems.

However, Sun claims that the Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment supplies more extensive internal protection against intruders within a system.

Mr Li said there was growing worldwide interest in the Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment as a means to protect secret and sensitive information in military and government institutions, as well as interest by a number of commercial and industrial companies, network service providers, banks, commercial enterprises and educational institutions.

"While the robust security features of the Solaris operating system surpass the needs of most of today's enterprises, the Trusted Solaris 8 platform fills the remaining niche by providing government and business industries with one of the most advanced, security-enhanced operating environments on the market today," he said.

In addition, the deployment and management experience for the Trusted Solaris 8 software is comparable to the Solaris operating platform, which is Sun's own variation of the UNIX operating system.

That meant system administrators familiar with Solaris 8 administration would be confident with Trusted Solaris 8 administration tools as well, Mr Li said.

The Trusted Solaris 8 Operating Environment's mandatory access control, as such, allows system administrators to manage access to information and process it at multiple sensitivity levels.

For example, in a financial environment, an internal bank system can be configured using Trusted Solaris 8 so a bank clerk may view a customer balance while a loan officer can access only the credit record.

"Many organisations see security as a negative cost that has to be borne, but in fact it is a positive asset," said Graham Titterington, a senior analyst at independent research firm Ovum.

"The e-business that can demonstrate effective security has a huge competitive advantage. It is capable of building trust with partners and customers, because it can protect the confidentiality and integrity of business information shared with them. Trusted status means more business opportunities. It also makes it easier to satisfy data privacy requirements."