Over the last 20 years, Symantec has been working as a guardian angel in the field of cyber security in India. Equipped with an able workforce of more than 4,000, the company considers the Indian market a key innovation hub for Symantec. Cheri McGuire, Vice President – Global Government Affairs & Cyber security Policy, Symantec Corporation shares with Garima Pant of Elets News Network (ENN) the organisations plans for the future
After being in the Indian market for the last 20 years, how do you gauge the current scenario of cyber security? What are the key threats and challenges when it comes to cyber security in India?
We cemented our presence in India with our hard work and dedication. 23 per cent of our workforce is spread across some of the major cities like Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and we have 35 per cent of global engineering talent with us here. Our prime focus as a company is on identifying and nurturing innovation and talent. We have a long-term commitment in the country and we are looking forward to grow that. As a part of this commitment, we will be delivering hands on experience and filling the skills gap in the sector.
We saw a number of significant emerging trends last year in the security domain. As we all know that service security is not a problem. India has always been in the terror target and over the last few years there has been a steep rise in the terror related activities in the country. A slew of terror attacks targeted various key sectors like financial services, transportation and communication, including the economic and national security of the country. It is not just the large organisations that are on the radar of the terrorists, but also small establishments. Taking up this huge challenge, we are creating a massive blanket of security which will provide full proof security for all. Along with this, we are also generating awareness amongst the netizens and also doing our best to secure all electronic devices such as mobile, computer or any other.
Increasing threats have also opened a gamut of opportunities. How have you seen the business grow and what are the business opportunities in the coming year?
We made an announcement last year in October that we were refocusing Symantec just on security and we are actually separating the business. So, a third of Symantec’s global business is on information management, storage, back-up, e-discovery and archiving and with the explosion in applications and content development, there is a huge demand for storage and archiving and information management solutions. But, at the same time, we see this explosion in the growth and need for cyber security. So, both these parts (security and information management which includes storage, back-up, e-discovery and archiving) of the company can be accelerated to provide solutions in the market place. Thus, the CEO and the Board of Directors decided on separating out an entity and creating an independent company on the information management side, called Veritas. We will be operationally separated on October 1st, and by January next year, the independent identity will be on its own.
What steps can be taken to firewall India against all possible security threats?
There are a number of basic things which we need to keep in mind in this era of cyber terrorism which go towards using strong passwords, using multi-factor authentication, encrypting data at rest and in transit and making sure that you have up to date and modern security suites installed. We have a significant challenge of using outdated security and we have watched the threat landscape evolve significantly in the last several years. The solutions that were available four-five years ago, only provide a fraction of the protection that we need today to protect against advanced persistent threats that we are seeing on a regular basis. So, following some basic practices that do not take much to implement but can truly make a difference in securing infrastructure securing networks.