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Security: For risk & compliance sake

01 Jul 07

“Why is it,” asks Gavin Struthers, regional director ANZ for McAfee, “ that it so often takes an event to generate a response?”  Gavin was speaking in terms of security, and the apparently high level of apathy on the part of business owners and consumers.  Security needs to be seen as more than a cost, according to Gavin, who says that we will see more threats in the next two years than we have seen in the last twenty. 
Simon Coles, McAfee’s NZ business development manager, points out that the threat landscape is changing due to new financial motivations.  Where we used to worry about viruses let loose by egotistical madmen, now the threat comes from unprotected data falling into the wrong hands.  Simon highlighted the need for legislation in New Zealand that would require companies to secure and protect their data.
Rough global figures suggest that the average IT business spends 4 – 8% on security.  This may not be enough.  Threats have become more sophisticated, says Gavin, and most businesses should be using 3 – 4 layers of protection.  As long as there is no strict governmental enforcement, the onus is on the business to ensure their safety and security.  Businesses need to stay aware of the fact that not properly securing themselves could effectively compromise their entire brand.  This is not a secret, but Gavin quickly pointed out that there is a major disconnect between this thought and action.
McAfee promotes awareness and education.  The risk of financial and reputation loss are very real, and there needs to be a focus not just on retrieving lost data, but a plan of action if confidential data is leaked or lost.  Research conducted by McAfee found that only 23% of loss was malicious.  The vast majority comes from errors made within the business itself.  For this reason, says Gavin, it is imperative that companies employ data loss prevention technologies.  Policies need to be set and enforced within the company, so that employees know when it is not safe to copy and paste, forward emails, or send data outside of the network.  
McAfee’s Total Protection for Small Business software, coupled with its Partner Security Services are ideal for the small business partner. Partners can sell this product to customers, and then continue to support the customer via regular reports, updates and recommendations tailored to the customer’s business needs and habits.  Customers relish this extra support, which gives resellers an automatic selling point.  McAfee has been offering security as a service since 1999, and this experience is evident in both their products and ongoing support systems.   

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