Telstra has received a "substantial" amount of interest from Government departments for its new managed security service, announced on Wednesday.
Designed to help protect corporate customers from the increasing threat of security attacks on IT systems and networks, Telstra has been testing the offering in-house for six months.
Mike Foster, Telstra's retail chief of business sales, said the managed service provides protection against hacking, malicious codes, denial-of-service attacks and Web site interference.
Telstra partnered with global information protection provider Internet Security Systems (ISS) to develop the service to combat the threat of an attack and support the needs of Telstra customers.
The service includes managed firewall infrastructure, network and host-intrusion protection in addition to existing antivirus notification and management services.
Foster said a number of large organisations have already signed up, but he was unable to disclose the names of the companies, the industries they are from or how many there were.
"We can't talk about the customers as it could make them a target, but we can say we already have some of the biggest and most recognisable companies in Australia," Foster said.
He said there has been a lot of interest from government departments, corporates and SMEs. "An attack on IT systems and networks could translate into losses in revenue, proprietary data, partnerships, customer confidence and shareholder value."
Foster said the issue of IT security is not solely the responsibility of technical staff. "The CEO has to look at the organisation and see if it is being adequately protected. If not, then [CEOs] should see us."
Kim Duffy, ISS's managing director for Australasia, said Australian companies were realising that effective enterprise security required dedicated security resources providing round-the-clock protection.
Duffy said there is still a grave misconception within networked Australia that the risk of online attack was minimal. An example is the Department of Defence, which was hacked within 27 minutes after it created a Web site.
Foster said the volume of computer crime and security incidents in Australia is rapidly growing, consistent with global trends.
Citing the 2002 Australian Computer Crime and Security Survey by NSW Police, AusCert and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Foster said for the first time in Australia, the threat of an external attack on computer systems has now surpassed the threat of internal attacks.
Nearly 90 per cent of Australian organisations suffering a computer security incident were attacked externally, while less than 65 per cent were the subject of internal attacks.
According to Telstra, the new services will expand and complement its existing capabilities in transaction security, built around the iTrust Solutions centre, which includes a Gatekeeper-accredited digital certificate capability.