Security ops centre opens in Sydney

Symantec has opened a security operations centre in suburban Sydney, increasing to six the number of such facilities globally.

Located at its Australia and New Zealand headquarters in North Ryde, the centre has the capacity to serve between 100 and 150 companies, according Charlie Johnson, vice president of worldwide security services at Symantec who is visiting for the opening.

“We hadn’t planned a SOC here, but have been talking to server clients who wanted all the capability of our US facility,” Johnson said. “For 18 months now we have been offering Australian companies managed security services from the US as a proof of concept.”

John Donovan, Symantec’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, said the centre is operational and already has a number of customers.

“The Australian security services market is good because there is a lack of skills out there. Retention of talented security staff is also an issue for local enterprises; using the SOC eliminates these problems.”

Donovan expects Symantec’s existing relationships with Australian enterprises to be the primary catalyst for uptake of the SOC.

“We also intend to utilise our [value-added resellers] to push our services offering,” he said.

The SOC – aimed at the mid- to enterprise market – provides monitoring and management services of both Symantec and third-party security products such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems.

“Although Symantec is a product vendor our services division is the result of an acquisition of a vendor neutral security consulting firm,” Johnson said. “It is our business to apply the best technologies available from various vendors to provide an overall monitoring and management solution.”

According to Johnson, the SOC technology platform can pull data from multiple sources and normalise it for the clients.

“We now have the Symantec Security Management System which is an integrated product capable of managing other vendor’s systems,” Johnson said. “We won’t manipulate clients’ networks, but we will change things like firewall settings. Customers can choose to be notified in the event of a possible threat and act themselves, or have the threat blocked first and then be notified.”

Symantec is offering service agreements on a fixed contract basis, usually for three years.

“The simplest ROI for companies that outsource their security is in knowing what their costs are over three years,” Johnson said. “They don’t have to worry about staff recruitment, pay rises and bonuses.”

Sydney joins Virginia and Texas in the US as well as the UK, Berlin and Japan in hosting a Symantec security operations centre. The company is now in discussions such centres with a number of Asian governments.

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Rodney Gedda

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