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Symantec: Why security is no longer just your insurance policy

With cyber-attacks making the headlines on an almost daily basis, the need for your business to have an effective security practice is greater than ever.

No-one wants to be the next Equifax, Target or TalkTalk, but how do you ensure your organisation stays safe from the myriad of threats around today?

Symantec is one of the best-known security vendors around today, offering thousands of big-name customers a range of tools and services aimed at doing just that.

However the ever-evolving nature of security threats means that proving your protection is now becoming more important than ever.

"For many people, security is moving away from an ‘insurance policy’ - something I have to do, or is the right thing to do - to becoming a potential competitive advantage,” Darren Thomson, Symantec CTO and VP, EMEA told ITProPortal at the recent InfoSecurity Europe event

"It's an unfortunate reality that our industry is one that requires bad things to happen before good things can happen," he says, highlighting last year’s WannaCry and NotPetya attacks as key examples.

"The trend that WannaCry was a positive one of taking people back to basics - If I talk to businesses in the UK, they're focusing less now on the trendy futuristic topics...but let's get the basics right first."

(Image credit: Image Credit: Symantec)

As IT budgets increase with businesses increasingly moving entirely online, cybersecurity will play a key part of this, with CISOs and CIOs alike taking a far more central role in C-level discussions.

Thomson notes that his role has become easier in recent years, as security worries have brought technology to the heart of the boardroom. However he believes there is still more to be done in order to ensure companies stay up to date on the latest risks.

"For the most part, a good security and cyber defence program works - what changes is the prioritisation of risk,” he says. 

“It's fair to say that best practice security and privacy can be applied anywhere, but once you've pressed the button on that, you have to think about what kind of business you are...and how do you prioritise?"

GDPR should prove to be a major catalyst for organisations that are currently lacking or falling behind when it comes to data security and privacy, Thomson says. 

"Symantec are taking (GDPR) incredibly seriously - we are definitely at the mature end of the spectrum...we've looked at every facet of what we sell and what we do."

He adds that although the new legislation should also help businesses wake up to the realities of this new privacy-conscious age, much of the guidelines are just common sense.

"There is a positive side to all of this - if you're a mature, customer-facing organisation, you should have been doing this anyway…(and) if you want to do business in Europe, you've got to take (GDPR) seriously.”

"Anyone who thinks May 25th was the end of everything is delusional - it's only the start of the journey.”

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.