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Symantec States Social Enterprise Is Way Forward In Security

The increasing use of mobile devices and social networks for collaboration are the two biggest challenges for IT security, according to Enrique Salem, chief executive of Symantec.

Speaking at its Vision 2010 conference in Barcelona on Tuesday, Salem told delegates that Symantec expects to see more smartphones connected to the internet than PCs next year, and that threats and the scope of attacks will evolve rapidly.

Currently 1.4 billion smartphones are connected to the internet and Symantec predicts this will to rise to 10 billion by 2014.

Despite the expected increase in the use of mobile devices, the hardware is ultimately not that important, according to Salem.

"Today you may have one device and tomorrow you could have another," he said.

"While we will see an explosive growth in tablets from many vendors, so the device is not what matters. What matters ultimately is the people, [and] what they are trying to access."

Symantec's plan is to help store data centrally so information can be recovered on other devices after a simple verification process.

The firm also stated that as communication increasingly moves from email to social interaction, this could pose new security threats.

"We believe social enterprise will be the way that we collaborate going forward, that means we will be much more efficient. Information will be delivered to you and you will be collaborating with it," Salem said.

"Groups of people will be collaborating and this will cause dramatic improvements in productivity but will also introduce some new [security] risks."

Symantec also plans to makes full use of its acquisition of VeriSign by making it available to the vast Symantec customer base, and allowing user identification to reach a wider audience, the chief executive said.

Salem also noted that Symatec is looking to drive innovation with regards to user authentication.

Mobile devices will help protect identities using their geo-location capabilities and will be used to carry out transactions. Symantec is looking to drive this adoption by partnering banks and retailers, he told journalists in a question and answer session.

With Symantec looking to promote security as a service, the role of IT chiefs was called into question.

However, Salem said that while the CIO function has moved away from the operational side to direction and driving requirements, they are still very much needed.

He gave the example of a CIO of a large chemical company who said that only one per cent of data stored is critical to the business. Symantec is looking to help businesses understand the data that is critical to a business and help them protect it.

With Salem noting that people's business and personal lives are intertwining, he suggested that the firm will remained focused on providing a streamlined product range and in the future products may cater to both enterprise and personal use.

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