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US-CERT: Federal Computer Emergency Readiness Team

US-CERT's impact on the private sector will be significant. The government team is setting a benchmark that vendors will have to surpass to retain their IT customers. Immune from potential lawsuits like those that may threaten Carnegie Mellon University's CERT, an aggressive US-CERT that gets out alerts at the first disclosure should trigger timely, more tailored responses from your security vendor.

However, US-CERT may face serious competition from the European Union, which is discussing an EU-CERT. This development should prove favorable to IT managers in the United States, particularly those who fear that the Bush administration might deem it prudent to withhold information to avoid compromising its intelligence-gathering.

Of course, there is a weak link in the security chain, and that is small businesses. Many of the small partners and suppliers you work with don't have their own IT security staffs, and they won't always know what to do with the US-CERT alerts. That risk remains high.

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