Symantec's Salem: IT Trends Require New Security Approaches

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"It's about enabling our businesses to take advantage of these emerging trends," Salem said. "How do we secure and manage diverse environments?"

During his keynote, held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Salem highlighted to thousands of IT security professionals that inevitable IT trends such as the rise of cloud computing, digital services and social networking might come with a untold benefits that create workflow efficiency and productivity, but also open up a slew of new security challenges.

"Cloud computing is going to impose a major shift in how services are delivered in IT," Salem said. "This relationship hinges on trust."

But despite the numerous benefits, cloud computing comes with numerous security and privacy concerns, he said. And similarly, social networking facilitates expedited communication, but potentially leads to unintentional intentional public disclosure of critical and sensitive information, he said.

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Meanwhile, the exponential and consumer-driven rise of smartphones -- according to Salem 1 billion by the end of 2010 -- also opens up other new threat vectors and paves the way for future malware attacks.

"The privacy of our information must be protected," he said. "Cyber criminals and hackers are more determined than ever to steal confidential information."

These trends require that the security industry be flexible and ultimately change the way it protects information, he said.

One of these changes includes transitioning from signature-based malware detection to reputation-based detection methods, simply due to the sheer volume of malicious threats, he said.

"Traditional signature-based approaches to security are not keeping up," he said."What we've had to do is come up with a new approach. The idea is it has to be able to deal with attacks that we've never seen."

Businesses will increasingly be required to integrate security into applications that house critical data, which includes the protection of virtual machines.

Meanwhile, companies now have to find creative ways to address insider threats, he said.

And going forward it will be increasingly necessary for enterprises to deploy security tools that give them a better information governance model with technologies that can determine what files are exposed to whom, detect who is accessing and modifying the cloud infrastructure and alert administrators if an employee has an unusual usage pattern.

Finally, Salem asserted that cloud infrastructure and physical security infrastructure will be required to be interoperable.

"Information will live in many places, and it will be accessed in more places than ever before. We know information will be our very greatest asset," Salem said. "If we work together, we can help the information economy reach its full potential."