RSA Conference 2007: Consumer confidence is key, Symantec CEO says

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As the internet evolves into an unprecendented user-centric experience, the need for consumer confidence is more critical than ever, Symantec CEO John Thompson said today.

Delivering a keynote at RSA Conference 2007 in San Francisco, Thompson said confidence can be attained by not only securing devices but by implementing best practices within an organisation to safeguard the data.

"The reality is the people are today's new perimeter," he said, adding that the focus of IT security professionals must shift from solutions to risk management.

And they better act swiftly, Thompson said, contending that consumers soon will "demand a certain level of security above and beyond..."

He said that to protect consumers in the new age of the web, an integrated effort is required. Taking an obvious swipe at Microsoft, which drew applause from the crowd, Thompson said consumers must avoid a conflict of interest when deploying software and security solutions.

"No one company is going to secure everybody," he said. "We realise we're all in this together."

Afterward, audience members said Thompson offered valid ideas - but realising consumer confidence might be further off than some think.

"Security companies aren't moving, I don't think, fast enough," said James Gaidula, team manager for desktop technology at Capital Group. "I don't think we can rely on technology alone to secure the systems."

David Crosby, senior network and security engineer at 60-branch Banner Bank, based in Washington state, said traditional devices will not stop today's emerging threats. To be successful, the "data communication between the requester and the information" must be protected, he said.
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