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Cybersecurity leaders from throughout the world joined Symantec on Wednesday at the Washington Convention Center for the company’s annual government symposium to discuss ways to combat the cyber threat that endangers each person, company and government that goes online.

The event, which featured more than 1,300 attendees, aimed to tackle three key problems: how to handle the explosion of information on the web, the ever-changing threat landscape and the necessity of innovation in the public and private sectors.

“Each and every day, our public servants in government IT security and management play a critical role in securing our country’s online information,” said Gigi Schumm, vice president and general manager of Symantec’s public sector organization. “The reality is that the security challenges are always moving. The world is getting flatter, and it’s our duty to give them every tool to fight that threat.”

Steve Bennett, Symantec’s new president and chief executive officer, said the company estimates a cyber crime happens around the world every 18 seconds, creating 1.5 million victims per day. That has created cyber crime into a $110 billion industry that continues to grow.

“The ability to share information, quickly and with the right people, can bring countless cost savings, but with that comes the cost and challenges of protecting that information,” Bennett said. “It’s obvious this is a challenge that is here to stay, but one we can work together on to solve through collaboration, diligence and education forums like today.”

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, gave an opening keynote where he said working together to fight cyber threats is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity.

“We can defend this space. But we’re stuck at the starting line figuring out how we’re going to do this,” Alexander said. “That’s going to be the push you see from the administration and Congress, and should be the push from business and the American people. We all have these devices. We all benefit by having secure devices that our children and grandchildren can get on and call from securely.”

The urgency level continues to grow as more IT resources are distributed, Alexander said, noting the explosion of mobile device usage in both the public and private sectors.

“We need a defensible architecture,” he said. “Thin, virtual cloud is key to our success in a couple of areas for DOD. We have a lot of mobile users. Securing mobile users is key to that future.”

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Symantec Public Sector Vice President and General Manager Gigi Schumm discuss the symposium with FedScoop.

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