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FireEye: Eyeing up NZ potential

17 Jun 13

FireEye has recruited two well-known industry faces as the company pushes its offerings to target increasing cyber threats.

New ANZ regional director Phil Vasic tells Heather Wright about the company’s Kiwi plans.

According to the latest FireEye Advanced Threat Report – based on data from 89 million ‘events’ – on average a malware infection occurs at a single organisation once every three minutes.

It’s a figure the company uses to back its claim that legacy defences such as network firewalls, intrustion prevention systems and antivirus are no longer enough.

The company argues that while IDC figures show IT security spend grew from $12 billion in 2003 to $28 billion in 2011, organisations have been spending more without making any major changes to their security strategies, leading to a stasis that ‘has helped malware writers move into pole position in the cyber arms race’.

IT security spending is, the company says ‘a renewal market’ and a market that offers plenty of opportunity for Kiwi resellers.

With that in mind, the company has not only appointed Phil Vasic as its ANZ first regional manager, but has also appointed Chris Barton as ANZ channel manager, and is planning an education campaign as it brings resellers onboard.

Barton, who was previously Connector Systems’ Australian general manager and prior to that APAC regional channel manager at Clearswift, is in New Zealand early this month on a channel recruitment drive.

Vasic says FireEye has been approached by ‘a lot’ of interested potential partners in New Zealand.

“We aim to build a robust channel programme by adopting a strong, security-focused approach in 2013,” he says.

“Channel education will be a critical part of this because we have an offering that is not only different from other cybersecurity platforms, but comes at the cybersecurity question from a completely different technical angle.

“We solve a very difficult problem and communicating the value of this will have to be at the centre of the channel equation.”

Unknown threats

He argues that cyber attacks are easily bypassing traditional signature-based defences, such as next-generation firewalls, IPS, antivirus and gateways, compromising the majority of enterprise networks.

He says 95% of organisations have been compromised, with 50% not even aware of the compromise.

“And I don’t see ANZ being any different.” He says the FireEye platform supplements legacy defences with a signature-less, virtualised detection engine and a cloud-based threat intelligence network, which helps organisations protect assets across all major threat vectors, including web, email, mobile and file-based cyber attacks.

“The key differentiator is that we are able to deal in near real time and predominantly with unknown threats, by looking into the network traffic and ascertaining, through parametres and some quite unique technology, what is malware, what is malicious and what it is trying to achieve.”

The company has New Zealand customers, though Vasic was coy on specifics. Most, however, are currently in the financial arena.

Internationally, the company has targeted the government, banking, finance and critical infrastructure markets, but Vasic says that is changing to some degree as smaller businesses become increasing targets for cyberthreats, given their lower levels of protection.

Vasic says FireEye partners ‘require a certain level of capability’ and to have some security background and be aware of the issues and challenges.

However, he says, that doesn’t mean the company will only be looking to partner with larger players. Instead, he envisions a mix of large and smaller partners.

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