Interview with Terry Dickson, CEO and Co-Founder of Avinti
by Mirko Zorz - Friday, 14 October 2005.
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I think for the most part, our customers are worried about business grinding to a halt because communications systems are incapable of performing as they should. I believe clients are worried about providing a secure means of communication. By keeping their communication network secure, they're able to avoid being taken offline by a virus or some other type of malicious attack. People who already have excellent AV solutions in place are concerned about the number of attacks finding a way into their network and they're aware of how quickly the window of vulnerability is being taken advantage of by hackers. They don't want to wait for their vendors to provide patches or devise complex workarounds, they want to know that they're being protected from every possible angle. In-essence, our clients have a valid business need to use e-mail and the internet, but are finding that they need to restrict access for purposes of security, and THAT impacts business.

The real enlightening thing for our customers is that regardless of what email security gateway or AV solution they have in place, we can go into their organization and within hours show them what's getting through. We're catching zero-day attacks, even though many companies have policies to mitigate and manage outbreaks in a reactive and expensive manner. Our solution is catching the things that make it through their existing defenses and REDUCING the time required for cleanup and restoration

Based on the feedback you get from your clients, are there more internal or external security breaches?

I would say that there are valid reasons for concern for BOTH internal and external protection. Most companies still have a higher level of trust for internal security. Unfortunately, a small number of individuals have betrayed that trust, generating the need for increased attention on internal security breaches. However, the majority of attempts from malicious entities are based OUTSIDE of the organization. Wise IT administrators will pay close attention to BOTH internal and external layers of protection.

What challenges do you face in the marketplace? What do you see as your advantages?

Complacency is a big issue that we face. We constantly battle IT apathy, the belief that today's email defenses are "the best available in the industry," even if some malware or attacks get through. The problem is that most senior executives, especially in IT, believe that they've got their e-mail security issues handled. Even with a well-documented rise in sophisticated attacks and loss of data as reported in Symantec's semi-annual security report and a CSI/FBI Computer Crime Survey, you have a level of denial that's a bit surprising. At the June 2005 CSO Interchange in Chicago, Illinois, nearly 100% of participating CSOs said that they felt they were well-prepared to handle spam, viruses, DDoS and hacker attacks. Ironically the statistics on attacks prove otherwise.

Email is not only a conduit of information flow - it can be the life's blood of business operations. Companies have an obligation to employees, shareholders and customers to protect that flow of business by whatever means necessary. Our solutions augment the existing communication defense arsenal by providing email outbreak protection against both known and unknown email based viruses. This added layer of security closes the window of vulnerability that stems from threats with no existing signature or patch. Avinti removes the opportunity that exists between the time an exploit is revealed and patched, and the time a hacker attacks the network. It protects against targeted attacks for which there may never be a pattern for protection. We're able to say that the Avinti iSolation Server is truly the first enterprise email security solution using virtual machine technology to test potentially threat-bearing messages in a monitored virtual replica of the target user's desktop prior to delivery.

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