Check Point exec says threat prevention is crucial for CSOs

bhaskar bakthavatsalu

Bhaskar Bakthavatsaluis, managing director, Check Point Technologies India.

Credit: Check Point Technologies

Information Security companies have to be dynamic and keep changing their posture and market strategy based on the changing threat landscape. Check Point recently executed a complete change in its approach to keep pace with new threats and changing customer needs.

“From vertical specific focus, the approach is now more horizontal due to our domain expertise in next-gen threat prevention solutions,” said Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu, MD, India & SAARC, Check Point Software Technologies in an extensive interview with CSO India

Check Point, like every security vendor, talks about next generation architecture solutions. Where does the hype end and reality begin?

Rather than talking about a product directly, we believe and talk about our thought leadership in cybersecurity over the past few years. Our innovative technology is ahead of hackers, ahead of malware and ahead of threats. We created the internet firewall in the nineties and now we are adapting to the trend of IoT and Cloud.

Next-gen is often an overused word. However our next gen threat prevention suite includes sandblast zero day protection, threat prevention appliances and software, threat intelligence, DDOS protection and Web security. And that is truly next-gen often highlighted by analyst firms and our client base.

 

But it is difficult for a single vendor to protect customers in a multi-vector threat landscape that encompasses everything, from network and end point to mobile and cloud.

Checkpoint started OPSEC (open platform for security) many years ago which many security vendors follow now. We collaborate with multiple vendors including storage vendors with the number of vendors at 300 today.

There is probably no security vendor that can provide 100% fool-proof security through an end-to-end security portfolio. With fast evolving threat landscape, technology should evolve too. There is no one single vendor or technology who can cater to modern security needs and hence collaborative model is the way ahead.

In case of the Information criminal records of mafia, we have to inform the Interpol or other enforcement agencies over cloud connect across geographies to avoid further breaches.

McAfee exited firewall, Dell sold SonicWALL to quote a few recent examples. Is Check Point still optimistic about (hardware-based) firewalls or your big play lies in an extended portfolio?

Check Point does not talk about firewall per se. The first firewall was invented and sold by us which many vendors follow today. Firewall VPN is the foundation of a company’s security posture and there is still a huge demand for the same.

Security solutions today have to block multi vector attacks including those on IP based devices. You cannot talk to CSOs only about firewall in the world of cloud, IoT, mobility and virtualisation. With these new technologies, the product vision has to move beyond firewall and VPN.

IoT, IP based endpoints and other connected devices open new doors for the hackers and makes the job of CSOs tougher. Comment.

Today one cannot afford to say that they don’t want to adapt the latest technology. CSOs need to align with the right vendor with the vision to protect and detect the threats across vectors and across devices.

Many security companies behave like start-ups and some ride the jargon hype. A few have got acquired too. Check Point is holding its fort for two decades talking about future technology like IoT, IP based, Sand blast threat prevention. There is enough hype on APT (good for detection purposes) but what about prevention? We have a great story that protects malicious packets from CPU level to the end points for organizations.

Recently we have seen new generation security companies like Palo Alto Networks and FireEye stealing the thunder from traditional vendors. How does that impact Checkpoint?

We are happy that competition exists because that gets us to think more and run faster. FireEye is good company which detects malicious stuff, but what about prevention? We can prevent and also detect with sand boxing technology superior than -- be it FireEye or others.

With threat prevention technology, we are one step ahead of malware attackers and more trusted vendor for CSOs across the globe. India has always been a great market for us from a growth and investment perspective for us.

What according to you should be the checklist of modern CSOs? What should they expect from companies Checkpoint?

The weakest link is the awareness of the technology (low or high tech) and its usage by humans. Having the right resources in your organisation is important too. Ransomware is a serious issue moving from the hobbyists into a serious business. With hackers targeting sensitive information, avoiding ransomware is super critical for CSOs.

Security vendors should not sell products or technology without understanding their customers’ business. They have to talk the business language with CSOs. We do not create big hype by publishing customer success stories in public domain as we believe in solving customer pain points and not expose their security loopholes in the public domain.

What would be the better strategy for security vendor like you - leaner product range or a unified platform approach - in 2016 and beyond?

It’s both ways with the usage of the products increasing multi-fold. As the customers expect higher GBPS and rugged security with all technologies in a product – that product becomes bigger and better over time. However the traditional market has moved beyond point products towards consultation services.

We ourselves have transitioned from a software company, then dabbling with hardware and now moving to be a cloud company. A software company can adapt much faster to cloud.  We are a step ahead with offerings around IoT, Mobility, virtualisation and consolidation of datacentres. And collaboration with vendors like VMware and Microsoft (Azure cloud) strengthens our holistic security story.

“Our next gen threat prevention suite includes sandblast zero day protection, Threat prevention appliances and software, threat intelligence, DDOS protection and web security. And that is truly next-gen often validated by analysts firms and our client base.”

Conversation with CSO have moved beyond Firewalls

We do not talk about firewall per se. The first firewall was invented and sold by us which many vendors follow today. Firewall VPN is the base of the security posture that still evokes huge demand from companies though product upgradation etcetera is needed regularly. Security solutions today have to block multi vector attacks including IP based devices. You cannot talk to CSOs only on firewall in the world of cloud, IoT, mobility and virtualization. Our product vision has shifted beyond firewall and VPN.

This story, "Check Point exec says threat prevention is crucial for CSOs" was originally published by CSO India.

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