SAN FRANCISCO – Big data and analytics are moving into the security realm, RSA Security‘s executive chairman and executive vice-president of EMC Corp., Arthur Coviello Jr (pictured). told the over 24,000 attendees at the company’s annual conference last month. Not only does big data vastly increase the attack footprint in companies, it, in the form of input from various security systems, will help analytic tools detect malicious activity, and based on what they’re seeing, launch appropriate countermeasures.

“Big data controls will be smart to begin with,” said Coviello, “but will be capable of self-learning and integrated with GRC systems.”

Vendors, including RSA, are already creating products with analytics built in; the new RSA Authentication Manager 8.0 platform and recently-announced RSA Security Analytics both address the unique challenges of protecting big data. The company is also expanding its partnership with Juniper Networks to share intelligence between their respective systems, allowing both companies to more effectively block threats.

Other vendors also took advantage of the conference to make announcements. For example, Barracuda launched a new firewall that offloads most of its overhead to the cloud. BitDefender Enterprise’s GravityZone manages physical, virtual and mobile endpoint security from a single console. And Boomerang launched a secure document sharing system for iPhone and iPad.

It’s no surprise to resellers that the Canadian market is not the same as the US market, something that many vendors just don’t get. Based on a discussion with its channel chief, RSA Security appears to get it.

William Taylor, RSA’s vice-president of worldwide channels and alliances, said that in Canada there’s tighter segmentation than the U.S. in the managed service provider space.

“We try to adjust our programming and target our resellers to make sure they can consume it the way that the government or oil and gas or other industry wants to go after it,” he said.

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There was never convergence at EMC, he noted. It was a typical storage company. But after the company’s various acquisitions, he’s now seeing a convergence of storage and security. “(EMC president Joe) Tucci was on the right track,” he said.

“It’s up to us as a manufacturer to create the market, and up to resellers to validate it,” Taylor continued.  “Partners are supporting us; if we weren’t on track, they’d go elsewhere.”

Partners are coming from two directions with customers, he added. Some just offer solutions, and some lay out issues, or what the customer’s security posture should be, and then look at products.

“Some of the guys who haven’t ‘got it’ yet are coming after it from ‘you should have a SIM solution because that’s what everyone has’, in comparison to ‘let’s look at your security posture and look at products based on that'”, he noted.

He thinks about 30 per cent of partners currently use the second approach, but that the number will grow quickly. RSA made changes to its partner programs last July to support the change.

“From a manufacturer’s point of view,” he said, “we have to understand (partners’) capabilities. We can’t make someone something they’re not.”

To that end, he encourages partners with complementary skills to work together, something he said they do naturally because they don’t want to leave dollars on the table. “They’re self-sufficient, loyal and motivated,” he said.

“The days of point solutions are behind us,” he added. “Customers are looking for someone who can be a consultant.”

(Photo courtesy RSA)

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