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January 27, 2015

SimpleWAN Turns Focus to Security

By Eric Lebowitz, Digital Content Editor

Across the Internet and in many industry publications, 2014 was dubbed “The Year of the Security Breach.” But veterans of the IT security field believe 2015 will actually be the year where information security changes forever. 

Despite the high-profile breaches of retailers like Target and Home Depot, financial institutions like JP Morgan (News - Alert) and a host of government agencies, SimpleWAN CEO Erik Knight says most organizations are still taking an “it won’t happen to me” approach. But Knight cited a startling statistic as evidence that breaches are more common than many vendors believe—40 percent of companies across the globe were breached in 2014. That number, he said, is not going to drop in 2015.

“It’s going to change in 2015 because you are going to know somebody it’s happened to,” Knight told TMC (News - Alert) during Editor’s Day on Tuesday at ITEXPO Miami. “It doesn’t become real until somebody you know has had this happen.”

In discussing what companies can do to help prevent breaches—and limit damage when they happen—Knight stressed that proactive action is paramount. The average time it takes for an organization to realize it’s been breached is six months (breaches, after all, are meant to fly under the radar) and the intrusion can do tremendous damage during the time it goes unnoticed. In other words, by the time companies recognize that they might have a problem it’s likely too late already. Instead, these businesses should consider regular audits from security experts.

“It all comes down to prevention,” Knight explained. “The days of, ‘I’m going to buy a security device and leave it in place for three or four years—those days are over.’”

Knight also believes compliance will be a major theme in 2015, especially with the recent release of PCI (News - Alert) 3.0. The latest version of the security standard includes new provisions—like banning the processing of credit cards over wireless—that will make compliance significantly more difficult this year.

“Right now, almost nobody is compliant,” Knight explained. “The new standard is a long list of things that nobody is doing, because it’s inconvenient.”

Knight also took a big picture view of security in stating that he believes the American education system needs to do a far better job producing qualified IT security professionals. As state-sponsored hacking becomes more prevalent, the need for these information security experts will only increase.

“It’s pretty simple,” Knight said. “We have to change our attitude in this country and do what needs to be done.”

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