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The increasing need for cloud security solutions

09 Mar 15

With the threat landscape changing and the propensity for malicious attacks increasing, the role of security vendors and resellers is more important than ever before.

According to Symantec’s 2014 Threat Report, there has been a 91% increase in targeted attacks compared to the previous year, many of which were introduced through email systems.  The 2013 threat report highlighted there had been a 42% increase.

“These advanced targeted and zero-day threats are much more difficult to detect and stop than traditional malware and standard signature-based anti-malware tools have proven to be largely ineffective against them. ” says Mark Shaw, Symantec technology strategist – information security, Pacific region.

Organisations continue to embrace cloud solutions at a rapid pace with many choosing email services in the cloud as one of their first company-wide forays. But what about security? Exactly how much protection do these next-generation productivity solutions provide?

“Cloud-based email solutions such as Office 365 include only basic signature-based anti-malware capabilities. As such they will miss more sophisticated targeted and zero-day threats,” says Shaw.

“The question we put to our customers and partners is: ‘Is this free security actually good enough?’”

Many instances of Cryptolocker, which impacted several New Zealand businesses throughout the latter part of 2014 and into 2015, were able to circumvent traditional security controls typically employed through the ‘free’ offerings.  Attackers leveraged sophisticated redirect and time delay techniques to disguise malicious links, whilst the payload itself was a unique variant for every download, says Shaw.

“By employing cloud-based security solutions for the likes of email and web protection, customers can ensure they are always using the latest protection technology to stay one step ahead of the emerging threats,” says Shaw.

“A good cloud security vendor will continually implement new and updated technologies to the service that removes the headaches of organisations managing this themselves. However, as with any cloud service it is important to choose a vendor with that backs their service with strong, meaningful SLAs,” says Shaw.

In the case of Symantec’s Email product, SLAs are enforced around the ability to stop 100% of both known and unknown viruses, 100% availability of the service, 99% spam capture as well as many other industry leading metrics.

“No one else in the market offers SLAs for 100% detection of both known and unknown viruses, with 100% availability. This should be a critical consideration for every organisation considering cloud security,” says Shaw

Symantec is one of the Pacific market leaders for cloud delivered email and web filtering solutions and uptake in New Zealand continues to be strong.

Symantec’s Email supports mailbox services, filtering unwanted messages and protecting against targeted attacks. The service has self-learning and behavioral heuristic capabilities, encryption and data loss prevention to deliver effective email security and help an employee control sensitive data.

Web filters web traffic providing advanced malware protection, enforcing acceptable use policies and protecting against confidential data loss for businesses looking to protect web use for employees.

These products were highlighted in the presentation at Westcon Group’s BlueSky 2015 Cloud Solutions event, which took place February 24.

Over the past few years Symantec has undergone significant change, resulting in additional investment in R&D and new product strategies. One example of this product innovation is the development of the Symantec’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) solution which is expected to be released progressively over the next six months.

The ATP Solution will consist of three modules for endpoint, email and network protection. Existing SEP and Email customers can simply purchase the ATP capability for their existing products.

The solution will provide security event correlation and prioritisation across endpoint, email and network to deliver better targeted attack detection and to reduce the costs associated with day-to-day security management. The solution will have the capability to leverage ‘Cynic’ - Symantec’s new cloud-based analysis for suspicious files.

Shaw says the advanced threat protection approach being taken by Symantec is a ‘game changer’.

According to Shaw some resellers have had concerns with the growth of cloud based solutions as this can be seen as an opportunity for the vendor to take their business direct to the customer. However, this certainly isn’t the case with Symantec’s cloud solutions.

“Symantec is absolutely channel centric. Our mature partner programs, good incentives and support enable partners to deliver Symantec’s cloud solutions to their customers with confidence,” says Shaw.

Symantec's cloud solutions are available in New Zealand through Westcon Group, click here to find out more.

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