Symantec pushes ahead with product expansion

Following the recent introduction of a number of new products and enhancements, Symantec has detailed plans to continue the aggressive expansion of its security portfolio.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  July 31, 2003

|~||~||~|Following the recent introduction of a number of new products and enhancements, Symantec has detailed plans to continue the aggressive expansion of its security portfolio. However, this growth will also bring with it some new challenges for the end user and, as such, product integration and centralised management will become core elements of Symantec’s strategy moving forward.

“Customers want to be able to manage all their products on one screen, so Symantec has been working over the last few years on a technology called Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture,” says Kevin Isaac, regional director for Symantec MEA.

“We are trying to find a way to create a level playing field where all products can plug into each other and work together. So we are building an architecture that everything can plug into — Symantec products, third party products, everything as long as it has got APIs that will work with the architecture,” he explains.

Consequently, the vendor’s latest round of product releases are designed to fuel its move towards a centrally managed security environment, exemplified by Incident Manager 2.0. Moreover, the enhancements are designed to strengthen what Symantec believes are some of the core areas of the security spectrum.

For example, the vendor has released two intrusion detection product upgrades in Symantec Host IDS 4.1 and ManHunt 3.0. Both provide real time monitoring, detection and alert functionalities, with the former operating at the server level and the latter designed for networks.

Symantec has also enhanced its ‘honeypot’ Decoy Server 3.1 product, which has garnered positive feedback from analysts. The solution is designed to complement host and network based IDS products by luring security threats to a false server, before containing and disposing of them.

“Honeypots supplement solutions such as firewalls and other intrusion detection systems, providing advanced decoy technology and early detection sensors. In addition to the forensic elements, honeypots can be used as a tool for reducing false positives,” explains Charles Kolodgy, research director, security products, IDC.

“Symantec has a competitive edge with the Decoy Server offering all the elements required for comprehensive protection against intrusions,” he adds.

Furthermore, as the number of security threats and vulnerabilities continue to spiral, Symantec has introduced Vulnerability Assessment. The product helps to increase the speed and effectiveness of tackling security threats through identification and prioritisation processes.

“We documented more than 2500 new vulnerabilities over the past year, an 81.5% increase on 2001. Unfortunately, many organisations are unaware of the vulnerabilities in their systems and applications and are unable to determine if identified vulnerabilities have been resolved,” says Isaac.

“Vulnerability Assessment optimises control and minimises the complexity of identifying vulnerable systems, as well as providing the extensive remediation information that customers need secure their systems and applications,” he claims.

Symantec also believes its continued investment in delivering and enhancing new and existing products will help it to retain its position at the forefront of the security market. The vendor claims it now has the most comprehensive range of security solutions.

“Symantec is the most compelling security company in the world; nobody can address security like us. We eat, breathe and sleep security — that is all we do,” says Isaac.

“We play in all [security] areas except four — authentication, encryption, access control and identity management. However, we deal with elements behind these areas,” he adds.

While Symantec partners with RSA Security to tackle the authentication and encryption aspects of the security realm, Isaac does not rule out moves into either identity management, which largely involves biometrics solutions, or the physical layer of access control.

“We have the breadth and commitment and we are advancing our entire portfolio across the whole [security product] range,” he confirms.||**||

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