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Anatomy of protection

Everything revolves around information and people. That was the core message of the Symantec Vision held in Barcelona last month, which witnessed a large number of attendees, hands-on training and break-out sessions, in addition to numerous Symantec partners populating the exhibits.

The information security and storage company has identified six mega trends that will impact the future of IT and end-users.

This includes increasing consumerisation of IT, with users adopting technology at ever-increasing pace creating new risks for organisations. Mobility is the other with around 10 billion smart devices projected to connect to the net by 2014. Symantec says social enterprise will be the way we collaborate going forward resulting in dramatic improvements in productivity but at the same time will spawn new risks. On the same note, it adds that we are just at the beginning of the virtualisation era and cloud computing represents a new transition point for the industry, where we will deliver more services and apps over the Internet than ever before.

“Two other trends that we see is the continued growth in storage to the tune of 400% and rapidly changing threat landscape, wherein nations attacking nations, targeting the critical national infrastructure. As devices proliferate, what you need is to be confident that everything you need is well protected and available,” said Enrique Salem, President and CEO of Symantec, delivering the keynote address.

He added that as the line between business and personal lives becoming blurred, the user expectation is simple and secure access to information. “We need to have attributes that is associated with information and people. Start with applying policies to both and an architecture around information. We need to make sure security is invincible, invisible and inexpensive”

According to Salem, Symantec is rethinking its business along these 3Is. “We were in many ways a software publisher and in the late 90s we were more focused on security and divested many businesses. In the mid 2000s, we extended that focus into data centre and we are on to the next phase of transition where it is no longer about products. It is not how IT buyers think about business; it is more about enabling enterprise to be more agile and solving business problems. We are going to take information-centric view,” he added.

The changing threat landscape and Stuxnet, the new malware targeted at industrial control systems, were one of the recurring themes at the event. “The traditional approach of protecting against threats based on signatures is not going to work against advanced exploits. What we need is a new approach, which is more responsive and real time,” said Salem.

The information explosion also means increasing cost of security breaches, according to Francis deSouza, Senior VP of Enterprise Security . “We have a seen an alarming rise in the number of sophisticated attacks. We are also seeing the emergence of new techniques and custom malware. That poses a unique problem in securiry because old methods of doing security won’t work.”

Symantec says in the 90s the name of the game was defense-in-depth, which resulted in a complex world for most users. “We are rethinking security and working our portfolio around a number of core problems in security. This includes information and infrastructure protection, systems management and development and enforcement of policies. Security can’t be a reactive proposition,” says deSouza.

Recognising that the technology landscape is shifting rapidly toward mobility, Symantec has unveiled new tools at the show to help protect mobile devices, and the sensitive data they contain. The mobile security and management strategy from Symantec enables businesses, service providers, and users to manage and secure mobile devices no matter where they may roam.

“Symantec's mission is to secure people and information through identity, protection and context, and our broad approach to mobile security and management is a key extension of protection for all of our customers,” said deSouza. “By providing mobile security and management for smart devices, we're making it easier for enterprises to allow their employees to use their device of choice without putting corporate data at risk.”

At the event, Symantec has also announced Ubiquity, a next-generation security technology to fight malware using the collective intelligence of 100 million systems, which are Symantec’s customer computers. Ubiquity draws on the company’s global intelligence network, which has probes in 200 countries, to derive a highly accurate safety rating for virtual every single software file in existence. Symantec says Ubiquity currently has safety ratings on more than 1.5 billion unique applications, making it one of the largest clean database of its kind.

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