RSA '08: Protecting enterprise information outweighs all else

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RSA '08: Protecting enterprise information outweighs all else

Protecting information is the frontline for security professionals today according to John W Thompson, chairman of the board and CEO at Symantec.

In his keynote address at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Thompson reiterated the importance of information security which was also highlighted during the conference's opening keynote address by RSA president Art Caveillo earlier in the morning.

“Compared to ten years ago in 1998 the frontline has shifted and the battleground for security no longer revolves around the infrastructure, it now revolves around information,” Thompson said.

“It is unquestionably the business's most important asset today,” he said. “IT organisations are dealing with terabytes of data and the amount is growing exponentially every single year. The world is full of confidential information everywhere.”

Thompson was joined by Steve Trilling, Symantec's VP of security and threat response team to analyse results of Symantec’s bi-yearly threat report which was released on Tuesday at the conference. According to Trilling, 70 percent of the most common malicious threats Symantec received in its lab were designed to steal confidential data.

“We believe we have reached an inflection point where there is more malicious software created everyday than good software,” Trilling said, pointing out that 65 percent of unique software delivered to users was malicious.

Furthermore Trilling said an entire underground marketplace existed around selling and stealing information on the internet which has the workings of a full economy.

“They’ve got ways to market the data to potential buyers, they have people who handle money transfers. It’s pretty sophisticated.”

According to the report, nearly 50 million people worldwide had their identities exposed in 2007, equalling three lost identities every second.

"Information is as distributed and global as today’s workforce," added Thompson. "It lives in hard to protect, unstructured formats and as SAAS continues to grow your most sensitive data, the real risk to info is both real and growing."
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