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First Open Source Business Day at the Bremen Chamber of Commerce
On May 21st the Open Source Business Day took place for the first time in the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. The event was initiated by the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA) and organized by DECOIT® GmbH. The event was mainly focussed on the use of free software with open source code for medium-sized companies. IT experts from economy and science gave an insight how medium-sized companies can effectively use Open Source Software (OSS). The presentations were rounded off by an exhibitor area, the so-called "Market of Possibilities". DECOIT® GmbH was involved in both the lectures and the exhibition with results of its research projects.
Open Source Software (OSS) is already used cost-efficiently and flexibly in many companies. Nevertheless, larger medium-sized companies are often hesitant to use OSS due to various prejudices that are still circulating: Configuration and maintenance is too complex, no manufacturer support in case of errors, there are too many bugs or there is no documentation available. The event wanted to clean up with this, which is why OSS was looked at from different perspectives.
The participants were first welcomed by Andreas Köhler from the Bremen Chamber of Commerce, who drew attention to the importance of software decisions for companies. The board members Andreas Rösler and Peter Ganten of the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA) were happy to take up this thread. While Mr. Rösler introduced the topic of Open Source, Mr. Ganten emphasized digital sovereignty. In his opinion, only with OSS can one remain capable of acting without being dependent on certain manufacturers. As an example, Huawei was mentioned, who just the day before were no longer able to install newer updates of Google-Android due to sanction measures of the USA, showing the downside of dependencies. For this reason, a joint guideline is currently being drawn up with politicians to examine the digital sovereignty of data, interfaces, source code etc. The aim is to find out where one has already become too dependent on manufacturers or where there is a need for action in order to remain capable of acting in the future. Peter Ganten is also actively involved in this definition.
During the coffee break the participants had the opportunity to have a look around the "Market of Possibilities". A prototype of the DECOIT® GmbH, which was developed from the CLEARER project, was also presented. This prototype is able to measure and display IT security in combination with a NAC system. In addition, CLEARER provides clear and understandable recommendations for action. This path will be pursued further, which is why the new BMBF research project GLACIER was started in April. This project aims to make anomaly detection even more efficient.
The presentation by Prof. Dr. Kai-Oliver Detken, Managing Director of DECOIT® GmbH, showed afterwards that on the one hand, far too little is still being invested in the IT security of medium-sized companies and that on the other hand, many solutions from the Open Source area can be used. Here Open Source is even so successful that proprietary manufacturers often use existing OSS tools as a basis for their own solutions. State of the art today are monitoring solutions that monitor availability. More important, however, would be to control access to the corporate network (NAC systems) and make IT security measurable (SIEM systems). DECOIT® GmbH uses standard solutions on the one hand, but on the other hand also develops new solutions in its research projects. Especially in the field of IT security, according to the speakers' opinion, one should rely on Open Source, because the source code is visible and errors are openly communicated.
In the round table discussion at the end of the series of lectures, all speakers were once again asked by Andreas Köhler how Open Source Software (OSS) can be established even more, or what is still lacking. Peter Ganten pointed out once again that digital sovereignty is being discussed with political committees in Berlin. Prof. Kai-Oliver Detken, on the other hand, would like to see companies becoming more innovative and willing to take risks. According to his own experience, decisions in medium-sized companies are often made "from the gut", without a real evaluation of the possibilities or the involvement of external experts. As long as one only looks at the competition and does not question the paths taken, no innovation is possible. Prof. René Peinl also affirmed that innovation can be further promoted through cooperation with universities and called on all those involved to seek out more such cooperation. Andreas Rösler did not see the lack of willingness to take risks as a problem, but rather the lack of risk awareness. As a result, many companies are not even aware that they have reached a manufacturer's impasse or what technical problems they will encounter when using proprietary software.
At the end of the event, all participants agreed that software solutions should be tailored to the requirements of a company, regardless of whether open source or proprietary software is used. With Open Source Software (OSS), the opportunities outweigh the risks.