Telstra has received a "substantial" amount of interest from Government departments in its new managed security service, announced last week.
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.
Telstra retail chief of business sales, Mike Foster, said Telstra's Managed Security Service (MSS) 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 was unable to disclose the names of the companies, the industries they are from or how many are up and running.
"We can't talk about the customers as it could make them a target, but 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.
Foster said the issue if 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," Foster said.
ISS managing director for Australasia, Kim Duffy, said Australian companies were realising that effective enterprise security required dedicated security resources providing around-the-clock protection.
Duffy said there is still a grave misconception within networked Australia that the risk of online attack is minimal.
Duffy said an example was the Department of Defence which, when it created a Web site or put a PC online, it was hacked in 27 minutes.
Foster said consistent with global trends, the volume of computer crime and security incidents in Australia is rapidly growing.
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 growing threat of external attack on computer systems has now surpassed the threat of internal attack.
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.