Looking to the Future
The impetus for O3 came a few years ago, as Symantec looked at the future of technology. Management saw emerging trends such as mobility, cloud, virtualization and the consumerization of IT having an impact on customers, Ken Schneider, Symantec's vice president of technology strategy, told eWEEK. Employees are increasingly more mobile, accessing corporate data while outside the office, he said, adding that many are using their own personal devices to access that information."We will give users access to all different clouds based on that credential," he added. Instead of forcing organizations to create new identity information for employees, O3's policy engine integrates with the existing system-whether that's passwords alone or stronger mechanisms such as two-factor authentication tokens. The cloud access control layer enables companies to link that identity information against all the cloud services and authorized devices. IT administrators are no longer just infrastructure managers, according to Schneider, but information managers who need to ask, "Does this person have the right to access this kind of information at this time?" He added that they also must track information as it moves around. O3 lets an employee use whatever device he or she wants to use to get the job done. Therefore, Schneider noted, if the work phone fails, the employee can use the personal phone. In addition, administrators will have better control over employee access rights, Schneider said. By turning off the Active Directory record for an employee who has left the company, an administrator automatically terminates that person's access to all applications and infrastructure. Disgruntled former employees can't log back in to sabotage corporate assets or steal proprietary data.
Though the volume of data stored in clouds continues to increase, recent studies have shown that while embracing the lower costs and increased efficiency gained by moving to the cloud, organizations are still hesitant to shift critical applications there for fear of losing tight control over their data. The O3 service is designed to alleviate enterprise concerns about the amount of data being stored on cloud infrastructures beyond IT's control, according to Schneider.