Consumer Security: Opportunities for channel partners

The consumer security software market, particularly in the Middle East is highly competitive, but where do the best opportunities lie for traditional resellers and retailers?

Tags: ComguardFrost & Sullivan (www.frost.com)McAfee IncorporationSourcefire (www.sourcefire.com)
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Consumer Security: Opportunities for channel partners
By  Piers Ford Published  May 28, 2013

Haritha Ramachandran, program manager, Information and Communication Technologies Practice at analyst firm Frost & Sullivan agreed and said consumers today don’t necessarily invest in updating their software regularly. Often, said Ramachandran, they count on what they receive on their PC’s or laptops which comprises a one year subscription without renewing it thereafter. Similarly, he said consequences of attacks on mobile devices can be as severe as attacks on PC’s.

“For example, mobile malware can turn a mobile device into a member of the network of devices controlled by an attacker, turning the devices into a botnet. These botnets can send sensitive information to attackers and also perform several other harmful commands. Mobile devices can also spread viruses to the PCs they are connected to,” he said.

Ramachandran said in recent years, mobile attackers use phishing as a means to install malware or extract sensitive information from users. “Going forward, loss of a smartphone can endanger critical user information such as financial transaction details, corporate information extracted from the device, information about contact details, and GPS locations of the user,” he said.

According to Ramachandran, any sophisticated attack can overpower most of the security features of the device and gain access to all the information the device has stored. The end-user’s awareness about mobile threats is still at nascent stage and subsequently their unsafe actions can be the greatest threat to mobile devices,” she said.

Symantec’s Taufiq said that as people expand their online lives into their mobile devices, they are taking more security risks. Norton’s 2012 Cybercrime Report, Middle East and Africa Mobile Insights revealed that nearly a quarter of mobile users in the region don’t  restrict their downloads to trustworthy sources. Even more startling, almost 30% don’t use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile device, leaving sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable.

“The IT industry knows that cybercrime is evolving at full speed and dynamic education is needed now, more than ever,” said Taufiq. “Norton by Symantec provides an effective educational platform for its partners and end-users. We offer up-to-date information, tools and advice to partners via the Norton Partner Portal, enabling them to educate customers, be aligned with our strategies and highlight the value of investing in efficient security software to protect the information that matters.”

The need to shift consumer attitudes to security is a big opportunity for resellers and retailers to add value. Raj Samni, vice president and chief technology officer, EMEA, at another household security brand, McAfee, said security – or assurance – is a significant enabler for technological innovation.

“Most certainly, there are many tremendous examples of resellers and retailers recognising this, and reaping significant financial reward as a result,” said Samni.
“I would suggest strong case studies are a really good tool in demonstrating the benefits of security. There is great power in the use of social validation to prove value. Your best sales tool is a satisfied customer!

“We provide McAfee Mobile Security Suite for mobile devices for comprehensive protection against mobile device loss, malware and web threats. For instance, if a customer wants to install an app or use their device for banking and payments, the suite is there to protect the user by checking the reputation of the app as well as being able to determine the authenticity of the site the user may be visiting.”

Anthony Perridge, channel director EMEA, Sourcefire, said the advent of mobilisation, bring your own devices (BYOD), virtualisation and the cloud have spurred a breadth of new devices, infrastructure and networks, and a range of operating systems and applications that provide new, efficient mechanisms to transport malware and conduct attacks. Perridge said while social media, mobile applications, Web sites and Web-enabled applications have created new ways for a variety of users to connect (employees, partners, consumers), they have also exposed individuals and organisations to new inbound and outbound security threats.

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