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Symantec beefs up Australian security centre

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Security vendor Symantec has expanded its Sydney security operations centre (SOC) to better cope with demand generated by increasing security threats and clients' desire to outsource some of their security responsibilities.

The Sydney SOC, now with 11 seats occupied by security engineers, immediate response analysts, support and service specialists, is one of four such company centres around the world. It is now 40 per cent bigger in size and capacity, the company said. Two SOCs operate simultaneously to give the vendor global coverage around-the-clock.

The first Sydney SOC was established 10 years ago in Ryde, NSW. The expanded facility is housed with Symantec's operations in North Sydney and complements data centres in NSW and Victoria which contribute to security monitoring and threat response.

Peter Sparkes, Symantec's director of managed security services, Asia Pacific Japan, said the decision to invest more than $1 million in additional infrastructure and resources in Sydney stemmed from local client demand and the availability of highly skilled staff who also spoke several languages and were able to liaise with clients in other countries.

The centre offers managed security services (MSS) which log, analyse and manage security events, and adds customer support. The service is achieved via an appliance installed at the customer's premises to collect logs from all other systems and devices. The logs are bundled and transmitted to the SOC at near real-time, Sparkes said.

The company's director security compliance solutions, Sean Kopelke, said clients were finding it difficult to keep up with the security demands of a rapidly growing number of business applications and increasing system complexity.


"A lot of the time customers have very good security teams, but they are being pulled in different directions because every project now has a security element to it."

The Asia Pacific Japan region now contributes 19 per cent of the global company's business.

"Hopefully that will continue to grow – it's a reflection of the strength of the economy in this part of the world," said Bernard Kwok, the company's senior vice-president, APJ.

Symantec counts 1100 global companies as MMS clients. They account for some 744,000 devices and "millions" of end-points, such as PCs, servers and laptops.

James Turner, security analyst, IBRS, said it made sense for large clients to outsource security services. Australian company Earthwave, IBM and Symantec were the main vendors offering such services, he said.

"Managed security services are popular with Australian clients because of the skills that are required. One client I speak to would need to get eight people in to have the same level of service they are getting [from MMS]."

In March, Earthwave announced it had partnered with HP to deliver "SOC-in-a-box" to ISPs, large enterprises and government agencies with their own security facilities.

In June, IBM began a renewed marketing push for cyber security coinciding with the opening of its Australian Development Labs on Queensland's Gold Coast. It is home to around 90 technical experts, including the company's specialist cryptography unit.