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Online threats to target critical infrastructures, says Symantec CEO

Jack Loo | Nov. 21, 2011
Security and storage management provider identifies mobility, cloud and virtualisation as areas that can help transform IT.

Enrique Salem, president and CEO, Symantec

Enrique Salem, president and CEO, Symantec

SINGAPORE, 21 November 2011 - Online threats today have evolved from espionage-based activities to deliberate sabotage operations, according to Symantec president and CEO Enrique Salem.

"The Stuxnet worm attacks in 2010 disrupted 25 per cent of uranium enrichment capability in Iran," said Salem in his keynote address at the vendor's user conference Symantec Vision in Singapore last Friday.

And with this year's discovery by Symantec on a new worm Duqu that can specifically gather information about industrial control systems, there will probably be more attacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants and water treatment facilities.

Salem also identified three trends -- mobility, cloud computing and virtualisation -- that are giving "organisations opportunity to rethink their IT operations." These three are areas that Symantec has been pushing for with products and services as well.

"IT departments today are facing more pressure to enable mobile devices at the workplace," said Salem, as he cited the example of more executives bringing in iPads to the office environment. Symantec plans to enable its data loss prevention server to work with iPads and, eventually, Android devices.

He hailed the impact of cloud computing as "the biggest change in IT in the foreseeable future". Symantec's Endpoint Security 12 represents the vendor's efforts in cloud-based enterprise security efforts.

By 2014, 70 per cent of all servers sold worldwide will be virtualised, according to Salem. One of Symantec's offerings in the virtualisation space is its V-Ray technology which offers visibility into virtual and physical infrastructures.

State of the cloud

Meanwhile, Symantec announced the results of its global 2011 State of Cloud Survey, where the surveyed organisations have mixed feelings when it comes to cloud security, with a majority ranking it as both a top concern and top goal of moving to the cloud.

The survey also revealed that IT organisations may not be adequately prepared to move to the cloud, as more than half of the respondents said their IT teams are not ready today. The study is based on 5,300 responses that included 1,100 from Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

At the event, Singapore-based telco SingTel unveiled its SingTel PowerON Security suite of cloud-based security solutions and services for SMBs, powered by Symantec technology.

Available on a monthly subscription basis, the suite offers protection from viruses, malware, spam and other online threats to allow employees to access e-mail, company servers and the Internet securely, even when they are accessing from mobile devices.

PowerON also provides automatic security updates to protect employee laptops, desktop computers and servers, and will soon be enhanced to include tablets and smartphones. A user-friendly Web-based portal allows IT administrators to manage staff devices and view real-time service statistics and reports.


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