“Underserviced” mid-market needs help in 2014: Sophos exec

The mid-sized enterprise market is replete with opportunities for security vendors and will form a key target for security marketing efforts in 2014 as companies wrestle with continuing threats and technological initiatives like encryption, the new regional head of sales with Sophos has said.

David Sykes, a former Symantec managing director and McAfee sales director, moved to Sophos as A/NZ sales director late last year and believes that the industry has overlooked many of the lower-range needs of enterprise clients by trying to shoehorn them into large-scale, high-end security solutions.

Midmarket companies with 100 to 500 employees are “an underserviced and critical space for Australia,” Sykes told CSO Australia. “They've either had big enterprise solutions that do too much, or consumer solutions that don't scale or manage well.”

A focus on precautionary measures – for example, in situ encryption of sensitive data-at-rest to protect it from compromise – will characterise many discussions this year, with imminent changes to federal privacy laws particularly expected to be a “catalyst” for security investment in the next few months.

“People are saying to me 'I've got no money, no security skills and no idea what to do next',” Sykes says. “But they've got to start with the presumption that they've been compromised, and ensure their basic endpoint security is covered.”

That was a different message than many companies were taking away from media coverage that often fixates on the risks from targeted advanced persistent threats (APTs), which Sykes noted are “pretty expensive for the bad guys to put together. They're going to want to target them at pretty high worth targets.”

Rather than being targeted by APTs specifically, smaller companies were “far more likely to get caught in crossfire” as companies are targeted by DDoS attacks, drive-by malware downloads, and the like.

“Every virus ever written is out there,” he said, noting the growing arsenal of attacks in use by cyber-criminals. “It's just a question of whether you have the platform to run it on. While we're not seeing anything startlingly new, there are now more complex attacks using things that we're already familiar with.”

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