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The Open Source Security Primer
Posted By Renee Oricchio On September 1, 2007 @ 12:00 am In Business Software | No Comments
Open source software is both tempting and terrifying for many small to mid-size business owners. Tempting because it’s cheap up front and comes without those licensing fees. Terrifying because of the perception that it’s easier to hack.
“There’s absolutely no evidence that open source is any less secure than commercially licensed software,” says Michael Goulde, a senior analyst from Forrester Research , who estimates 55-60 percent of all businesses use at least some open source software.
Goulde goes on to dispel the two most popular concerns about open source software:
One size doesn’t fit all
“Open source is a very broad area. You can’t make a single judgement about it. Some areas of applications are quite mature, while others are not,” says Yefem Natis, a distinguished analyst from Gartner, a Stamford, Conn. IT research group.
Natis advises business owners to be more cautious when it comes to open source applications like portals and business tools such as business process management (BPM), customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Operating systems and application servers, on the other hand, are more established and safer to use.
Goulde, however, is less cautious and even sees open source as a unique opportunity for many small to mid-size businesses. “The amount of functionality you get from the open source versions of these technologies, like CRM, ERP, and BPM tools, is just right for many small to mid-size businesses. And, it’s affordable. Similar products that are commercially licensed are more likely to be priced beyond their reach,” says Goulde.
The argument for open source safety
For all the debate, a business owner has to wonder why not just play it safe and stick with the commercially licensed software. Here are some of the advantages of open source applications that may make it too tempting to pass up:
How to play it safe
Feeling more tempted than terrified? Here’s what a business can do to take the open source plunge with minimal risk:
For those businesses still feeling more terrified than tempted, here are some final unsettling words from Natis: “Open source is so widespread nowadays, some businesses are already using it bundled into other products without knowing it.”
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URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2007/09/01/the-open-source-security-primer/
URLs in this post:
 Forrester Research: http://www.forrestser.com/
 IBM: http://www.ibm.com/
 Hewlett-Packard: http://www.hp.com/
 Sun Microsystems: http://www.sun.com/
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