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The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR): A Valuable Tool for Partners

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By Peyton Engel, Technical Architect at CDW

As part of the channel partner community, it is our responsibility to provide customers with the best technology possible when it comes to protecting their business. In fact, keeping systems and information safe from Web-based attacks is at the top of any IT department’s to-do list. The annual Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) from Symantec is invaluable in helping us identify the types of cyberattacks that are on the rise, and providing intelligence that our customers can use to navigate the constantly evolving threat landscape. The ISTR, Volume 18, has continued to highlight key “cyber threats to watch” and confirmed several trends we’ve been seeing over the past year.

First, we’ve certainly seen that businesses of all sizes are in the crosshairs of cybercriminals, with 31 percent of targeted attacks aimed at small businesses. We’re seeing small businesses preyed upon for their own financial materials and intellectual property, as well as for the confidential data they retain on larger enterprises, who often serve as strategic partners with these smaller companies. Essentially, the bad guys are after any information they can access and exploit that is worth money to the right buyer. As we’ve been telling our smaller customers, they can no longer afford to assume that cybercriminals will pass them by – regardless of size, any company can become a victim of an attack if hackers have even the slightest bit of motivation.

There has also been concern in the manufacturing industry specifically about the possibility of attacks that will not only damage office systems but also steal intellectual property. According to the ISTR, manufacturing is now the top industry targeted for attack. This data, while alarming, highlights the need for manufacturers to segregate their production line equipment from their office network – which is often the initial entry point of an attack – especially when the production network can’t easily be patched or is not equipped with anti-malware tools. This separation ensures that even if an office machine becomes infected, production can continue unaffected. Taking this a step further, we recommend our customers also implement a multi-layered security strategy to protect office networks and endpoints – only then can organizations truly mitigate the risk of being compromised.

Another recent area of emphasis that is borne out by the ISTR is that of mobility. For several years now, companies have been hesitant to embrace mobility because of the potential for a lost or stolen device to expose sensitive information. With 32 percent of mobile threats representing theft of information, this is a serious concern for organizations of all sizes. In addition, the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) into the workplace has introduced the issue of user apps and confidential data residing and co-mingling on devices being leveraged for both business functions and personal use. This opens up a Pandora’s Box of vulnerabilities and potential exploits that can compromise the business and its network. We anticipate that, in line with the forecast outlined in Symantec’s ISTR, mobile threats will quickly become as serious and widespread as PC attacks have been in years past. Partners have to be prepared for this and offer their customers best-in-breed solutions based on the level of control they want to have over mobile devices without hindering their performance.

We offer Symantec security products to our customers, knowing that they are produced with the latest threat intelligence generated by millions of data points throughout the world. As partners it’s vital that we base our customer recommendations on the most comprehensive, up-to-date information possible – only then can we develop and implement a robust security strategy for our customers that allows them to maintain a high security posture, even in this world of evolving and ever-increasing threats.

To view the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), Volume 18, please visit:

For additional information on the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), please visit: