Symantec Looks Beyond Antivirus

Partnerships with Dell, Juniper anticipate wider ''Security 2.0'' strategy, to be announced next month.
Symantec, the world's most prolific provider of security software, is taking on new partners while shedding some areas of its business as it focuses on a wider definition of security: data, network, and system protection. CTO Mark Bregman says the company must understand all the risks that customers face, "although we don't have to provide a Symantec-branded solution" for every one of them.

Last week, Symantec teamed with Dell to try to help midsize businesses get control of their e-mail systems. The Dell alliance follows the previous week's announcement that Symantec and Juniper Networks will build threat management appliances, systems for intrusion detection and prevention, and access management and endpoint-compliance devices based on Juniper hardware and Symantec software.

chart: Security Blanket -- Symantec nabbed nearly a third of the $7.4 billion global security software market last yearThe Juniper relationship gives Symantec a strong partner in the emerging network access control market that Cisco and Microsoft are looking to dominate. It also means Symantec can offload to Juniper the design, manufacture, and support of its custom unified threat management and gateway security appliances, though Symantec will continue to make security hardware using industry-standard platforms.

The Symantec-Dell e-mail management offering, called Secure Exchange, consists on the hardware side of Dell PowerEdge servers and PowerVault storage, Dell-EMC storage, and the Symantec Mail Security 8200 Series appliance. On the software side, Secure Exchange includes Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange, Symantec Enterprise Vault, and Backup Exec, which the company acquired when it bought Veritas Software in 2004. Dell will provide the assessment, design, implementation, and training services.

Symantec and Dell are positioning Secure Exchange as a blueprint for businesses with 500 to 2,000 users to simplify e-mail security, backup, recovery, and archiving. Starting price for a 500-seat Secure Exchange implementation with hardware, software, and services is $60,780 and includes Dell PowerEdge 1950s, PowerVault 112T, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and Symantec Backup Exec.

Beyond AntiVirus

Fulton County, Ga., uses Symantec Enterprise Vault and an EMC Centera storage system to archive e-mail, an increasingly necessary part of law enforcement investigations and media information requests, says CIO Robert Taylor. Fulton County also uses Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software. Taylor welcomes the competition in the security market that Cisco and Microsoft will provide, but as long as Symantec continues to invest in its products, the company will be difficult to unseat, Taylor says. "Being able to work with one vendor gives me more leverage," he adds.

Gartner estimates Symantec accounted for more than 32% of the $7.4 billion spent globally on security software last year. Symantec has set itself up in a strong market position, says Charles Kolodgy, research director of security products at IDC. However, "when people think of Symantec, they think of antivirus," he points out. "It makes it harder for them to step very far from that."

Symantec is looking to address that perception in October when it unveils its "Security 2.0" strategy. Symantec plans to deliver--or partner to deliver--technology that aids with regulatory compliance, security, performance management, and the availability of systems and data. Years of acquisitions, along with its partnerships with Dell and Juniper, have the company moving in the right direction. "I think we're ahead and that others are chasing us," Bregman says. Still, Symantec would do well to heed the heavy footsteps it's hearing from behind


-- with Sharon Gaudin