One of the most challenging aspects of health care is that even when we develop the tools to prevent a disease, it continues to evolve until our current tactics fail to control its spread. We are all aware of this, of course, which is why we understand the need to get a new flu shot every year—we know that the virus will continue to evolve, and we don’t depend on unproven or outdated methods to protect us.
What we often fail to realize is that cybercriminals adapt their tactics in much the same way as organic pathogens, working to circumvent current controls and find new ways to attack. But despite this tendency, we most often find ourselves assuming that our current protection is good enough. Too many businesses are now assuming that simple antivirus software is sufficient to keep their machines safe. On average, we at Symantec have seen antivirus software prevent less than 50 percent of malware. Is this partial protection ever “good enough” for your customers? Of course not. Additionally, as reported by the latest Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) by Symantec, targeted attacks increased by 42 percent, and web attacks grew by 30 percent over the last year. Chances are, most businesses either don’t realize the severity of these statistics or have simply never been informed about them—which is where the partner community comes in.
It’s up to us at Symantec to ensure that our customers fully understand the threat landscape, and then provide them with the most useful, up-to-date protection we can. For Symantec and other security vendors, it is not about upselling customers to make more money; it’s about enabling companies to mitigate the risk of a very real and very serious breach. That is why Symantec is committed to constantly updating its security solutions, such as the latest version of Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 created to provide more comprehensive protection for organizations than ever before.
Helping Customers See the Value
Partners are likely to get some pushback (naturally) when considering an upgrade, particularly when cost is involved. Partners can and should point out that in many cases, however, regular updates for current security solution subscribers are of little-to-no cost, as is the case for Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 subscribers considering an upgrade to the latest version of Endpoint Protection 12.1. When partners highlight the importance of implementing updates as part of their customer’s overall security strategy, it strengthens your relationship with them and gives them reassurance that you are truly invested in their success—as a partner, that trust is invaluable.
The next obstacle that partners may encounter with their customers is the time to complete the upgrade implementation. Here, partners can relay to customers that with the latest generation of security solutions, full migration has been reduced from months to only a couple of weeks, without requiring any changes to the overall IT infrastructure. The latest security products also support ongoing initiatives such as virtualization and the latest OS versions, which can be critical to a business’ overall success as they adopt new technology on the market.
Perhaps the most serious misconception customers may have when considering upgrading their software, however, is the assumption that there is little danger in keeping the outdated solution. But with the need for layered defense at the endpoint, advanced security features such as reputation-based scanning and file-monitoring are making companies more secure than ever before in the face of new, unknown threats, thus reiterating the importance of implementing an upgraded solution as soon as it is readily available.
Just as doctors are armed with the facts supporting the continued development of vaccines and preventive medicine, the partner community is similarly armed with information, tools and resources to help customers understand that regular updates of their security solution will ensure they mitigate the risk of a serious breach or targeted attack. Partners must educate customers on the importance of maintaining a strong defense in depth strategy that protects every aspect of their operations. Through solutions such as Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1, Symantec has shown its commitment to providing best-in-breed solutions that partners can rely on; these products serve as the basic vaccinations customers must have to protect their vital business assets and avoid the disease of cyberattacks.
John Eldh is vice president, channel sales, Americas, Symantec. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.