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Infosecurity Europe 2004 A water leak or a failure in temperature control are just as likely to cause computer downtime as malicious attackers. But such so-called environmental issues are neglected until disaster strikes.

Dave Watkins, managing director of monitoring appliance firm NetBotz, reckons firms worried about hackers should be even more concerned about physical threat management.

Recent studies by the firm reveal that almost half of all mission critical failures could have been prevented if adequate environmental sensors had been deployed to detect water vapour, smoke, electrical failure or extreme temperature variance. Other research by the company reveals two-thirds of all security breaches are perpetrated by people with a level of authorised access to businesses premises or IT infrastructure.

The issues NetBotz raises are somewhat self-serving - it a leading supplier of kit which monitor the physical conditions of remote sites over the Web. However, the message that companies may have more to fear from rising damp than zero-day exploits stands out among the dire warning about computer virus peril flooding this week’s Infosecurity Europe show in London.

NetBotz markets a range of devices to monitor physical locations with video, sound, motion detection and environment sensing. Each solid state appliance provides real-time reporting and alerts sent over any IP network including Wireless (GSM / GPRS) and SMS alerts. The company competes with German manufacturer Rittil in the emerging market of IP-based physical security hardware.

These devices can be managed over secure SSL links, saving companies the trouble of sending people on-site to check on equipment. NetBotz’s devices can be integrated with environmental controls to reduce temperature in a monitored area, for example, should the need arise. ®

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