Symantec Wants To Be Security's Microsoft - InformationWeek

Symantec Wants To Be Security's Microsoft

In its quest to be a one-stop shop, vendor expands its backup-and-recovery lineup.

The threat of hurricanes, terrorism, and other disasters has many business-technology executives thinking about backup and recovery. Some companies have already lost files to a more mundane problem: human error.

Internet-security leader Symantec Corp. believes it has a bigger role to play in helping businesses keep data available at all times. The vendor this week will expand its data backup-and-recovery play with a line of disk-to-disk products called Symantec LiveState Recovery. The company hopes to let customers rapidly recover data during a computer outage by providing the ability to capture a point-in-time snapshot of a server's or device's operating state.

The products come from Symantec's acquisition last year of PowerQuest Corp. and its V2i Protector. Updated and rebranded, Symantec's LiveState Recovery line will be available in October in three versions: Advanced Server 3.0 ($1,194 per server), Standard Server 3.0 ($835 per server), and Desktop 3.0 ($70). The standard edition has fewer management features, while the desktop version restores information on PCs and laptops that have been attacked, miscoded, or damaged.

Craig Steiger, senior IT specialist with Marathon Oil, chose LiveState because it uses few system resources.

Craig Steiger, senior IT specialist with Marathon Oil, chose LiveState because it uses few system resources.
Craig Steiger, senior IT specialist with Marathon Oil and an early user of Symantec's new products, expresses confidence he could restore data on his company's 12,000 PCs using them. "We have protection against viruses, but something could always get in under the radar," he says. "Now we could roll the machines back and restore them to a state from before anything made them unstable." He looked at other products but chose LiveState because it runs in the background and ties up few system resources.

Backup and recovery is a "natural fit" for Symantec, says Rob Enderle, principal with the Enderle Group, an IT consulting firm. "Symantec is becoming the one-stop shop, from antivirus all the way up to backup," Enderle says. "Symantec really wants to become the Microsoft for security."

Products for backup and recovery are just the latest example of Symantec's expanding footprint. This year, the company bought ON Technology, adding patch-management capabilities to its portfolio; Brightmail, whose anti-phishing service was introduced by Symantec in September; and TurnTide, a maker of content-filtering software that creates a bottleneck for spam.

"We see security, network and systems management, and storage all coming closer together," says Enrique Salem, senior VP of Symantec's network and security gateway products and former CEO of Brightmail.

Symantec is also beefing up its service and consulting capabilities, which accounted for just 2% of overall revenue in its most recent quarter. Its pending acquisitions of Liric Associates and @Stake will increase the number of security consultants available to do vulnerability assessments for customers. Symantec's revenue grew 42% in its first fiscal quarter, ending June 30, to $557 million, pulled by strong sales of consumer products and services. Sales of enterprise-security products jumped 24% in the period, and business services grew 14%.

In its core security area, Symantec continues to jam more functionality into a single box. The next version of the Symantec Gateway Security appliance, due next year, will combine VPN, firewall, antivirus, intrusion-prevention, intrusion-detection, content-filtering, and anti-spam capabilities in a single chassis. With an increase in both the complexity and frequency of security attacks, Salem explains, "we're seeing a big demand for integrated security devices."

The company's product road map also calls for a new version of its anti-spam router early next year and upgraded Brightmail anti-spam service in mid-2005.

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