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Securing data in an information-centric world

01 Oct 09

Ken Berryman, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Symantec Corporation, recently spoke to The Channel about the  challenges and benefits associated with the shifts in IT and the opportunities they provide.

Until now the hardware was the most important part of the IT system, but now it is the information that resides on it.  That information is on the move, thanks to trends such as virtualisation and cloud computing.

Berryman said: “The critical information might be on a server at some point; it might be on a PC, it might even be on a  smartphone. You want to protect what matters, which is the information, so you have to think about protecting it in an  information-centric way, not in a system-centric way.”

Berryman said that another shift in the IT industry is the dramatic increase in the “total risk” associated with information. Providers no longer simply have to worry about malware and hackers, but also the risks of failing to meet a variety of  compliance regimes.

“These vary from country to country, but nearly everywhere is moving towards regulations mandating disclosure when  personally identifiable information is lost by an enterprise,” he said.

And he specified that “lost” doesn’t always mean stolen; it can mean that a backup tape was misplaced or a laptop was left in an airport lounge. He said that if someone found that laptop and discovered customer information, “you  have not only the risk associated with somebody finding that customer information, but simply falling out of compliance with laws governing disclosure of that information”.

And it’s not only the risk of becoming noncompliant; it’s the fines and payouts associated with any data leakage and the damage to the brand that bring high-cost penalties – something resellers should be helping their clients to avoid. “The  world is moving increasingly towards an information-centric one, but because information risk is going up, there is ever  more need to secure and manage your information,” Berryman said