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One of the problems with being a solution provider responsible for IT security is being outgunned. The perpetrators of digital crimes are not only well organized; they also have access to highly automated tools and share vulnerability intelligence with each other. As a result, solution providers have a vested interest in helping customers circle the proverbial security intelligence wagons.

With that goal in mind, OpenDNS—which processes 50 billion requests a day for Internet access—has published application programming interfaces that make it simpler for its customers to share security intelligence.

As a cloud service, the OpenDNS Global Network is an ideal mechanism through which IT organizations can share security intelligence concerning not only different types of malware, but also where that malware is being generated, said Jeff Samuels, chief marketing officer for OpenDNS.

To that end, OpenDNS has recruited both Check Point Software Technologies, a provider of firewalls and other security infrastructure and ZeroFox, a provider of a cloud security service optimized for social media networks, to participate alongside FireEye, a provider of software for combating advanced persistent threats (APTs). As part of that effort, these companies have committed to making it easier to share information about malware and vulnerabilities via the OpenDNS service.

From a channel perspective, the existence of OpenDNS as a vehicle for sharing security intelligence creates a compelling opportunity. Not only can they connect a variety of security systems to the OpenDNS service using the published API, but it becomes a whole lot simpler to get multiple customers to share that security intelligence.

Right now, most IT organizations are an island unto themselves from a security perspective. Solution providers could aggregate the security intelligence collected via OpenDNS to enable IT organizations to more easily share security intelligence, including the information gathered via the predictive analytics software that OpenDNS makes available to its customers.

There’s no doubt that solution providers and their customers are under siege. But unless they find some way to efficiently pool their security efforts, the playing field is never going to be level. Providing the mechanism to achieve that goal not only presents an opportunity for solution providers; it creates a responsibility. Solution providers in the channel are typically the only ones with the skills required to mount a truly viable defense. As such, they arguably have both a moral obligation and financial incentive to help customers that simply don’t have the expertise or resources required to defend themselves.

To do nothing about sharing security intelligence not only is an opportunity missed; it’s an abdication of responsibility for security while at the same time trying to profit from the continued adoption of the very IT technologies that are being exploited. It shouldn’t take a degree in ethics to figure out that the time has come to start helping resolve the moral and financial dilemma this is creating for all concerned.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.