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Norton Symantec to strengthen SA market

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Norton Symantec is one of the few international antivirus and malware distributors that have a presence in South Africa and the company is taking active steps to increase awareness of mobile security and updating local coverage.

Simon Ellson, Senior Director for Emerging Markets EMEA Consumer Sales (image: Charlie Fripp)

While Norton Symantec acknowledged that their product line-up could have been stronger over the last couple of years, the company said that they have learned from their mistakes and is ready to further capture the South African market.

Simon Ellson, Symantec’s Senior Director for Emerging Markets EMEA Consumer Sales, highlighted the company’s strategy going forward. “We are focussing on strengthening our core business and growth in emerging trends. We have to make sure than we are ubiquitous across all platforms, whether it be smartphones, computers or handheld devices,” he said.

Ellson believes that the company has done a good job of satisfying their customers, specifically in terms of its membership model. 

The online business is equally important to Ellson and OEM (such as bundled software with new computers) and in-store presence plays a huge role in the company’s expansion strategy.

The company announced new products and services to be launched in South Africa in the coming months.

In terms of products on offer, he said that new mobile services and apps will be released this fiscal year. “There is a major concern with mobile security, as we have seen more than seven million downloads of our mobile products. We are starting to change the perception in the customer that we are just an antivirus company”.

He revealed that Norton will have a new product portfolio, where they aim to release version-less software which is also compatible with Windows 8. “We have to evolve into a new form of protection, as we block about six million threats a year that customers will never know about. “We would like to protect the family – not just the device,” he said.

Nadia Hufkie, Symantec’s Marketing director for Emerging Markets, revealed a number of statistics that Norton gathered as part of their annual Cyber Crime report. The Cyber Crime Report is now in its fourth year and has been expanded to cover 24 countries, including South Africa.

“New avenues open up every year for cyber criminals, and the cost of cybercrime is equal to what the US spends on fast food every year. As crime evolves, consumers’ threat IQ remains low on protection, as new threats remain closed off to consumers,” said Hufkie.

The report revealed that there are about 556-million cybercrime victims per year, of which South Africa has 2.39-million victims per year. Eight out of ten users fall victim to cybercrime in South Africa. 

“The average cost per victim in SA is R1550, and 42% of that comes from fraud. There is a $16-billion price tag on Europe and $8-billion in Brazil. Mobile vulnerabilities have also doubled between 2010 and 2011, and 35% of adults in the survey have lost their mobile phone,” she added.

Norton also stressed that greater emphasis needs to be placed on mobile security. According to the report, 44% of consumers are not aware that mobile security exists for phones, while 1 in 5 do not check links before clicking on it. Only half of users on the social network make use of the privacy settings.

But Hufkie added that some consumers are savvy when it comes to Internet and mobile security. “People do tend to take basic steps, as 89% delete suspicions mails, and 83% have basic antivirus. There is still a lot of work for us to do since viruses today go undetected and people find it hard to tell if they have been infected or not. People are aware, but they don’t know how to protect themselves,” Hufkie concluded.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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