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Symantec integrates antivirus, endpoint protection and data leak prevention

Symantec's Endpoint Protection and Information Foundation offer integrated security with antivirus, firewall, data leak prevention and intrusion prevention. Partners and analysts say the two new products will bring new sales opportunities to the channel.

Two new products announced today by Symantec will make it easier to meet businesses' high-level security needs, according to channel partners and analysts.

Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 is the newest version of what was known as Symantec

 It really allows us to have more interesting conversations about a true enterprise-class solution.
J.J. Crouse
director of enterprise securityMSI Systems Integrators

AntiVirus, which now integrates everything from antispyware software and firewall to network intrusion prevention and optional host-based intrusion prevention. Information Foundation 2007 R2 combines data loss prevention, email and instant messaging management and storage tools for electronic discovery purposes. Symantec unveiled both at its Vision 2007 Conference in Las Vegas.

"They're rolling a lot of things together," said Patrick Vaughn, a sales director for DLT Solutions, a Herndon, Va.-based value-added reseller (VAR). "It's a breakthrough that they're putting it all under one umbrella."

Endpoint Protection marks a departure from traditional enterprise security because it is a true integrated security product with a centralized management console and a consolidated agent, said Andrew Braunberg, principal analyst for Current Analysis in Sterling, Va.

"It's where Symantec needs to go and where others are moving," he said.

VARs and systems integrators typically have to combine several different products -- antivirus software, firewall, network access controls and intrusion detection systems -- to meet clients' endpoint security needs. Because of the time and money that goes into those solutions, many customers don't purchase all of the integrated security features they know they need, said Al Maslowski-Yerges, project and security practice manager for Novacoast, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based VAR.

"Typically people don't put that many things out there because it's just too hard," he said. "It's hard to have a happy client at the end of it."

But now that Symantec has done that work itself, it will encourage clients who have been hesitant in the past to buy a complete integrated security solution, he said. And that extra business will more than make up for the reduction in integration work that channel partners are asked to do, he added.

Every business has its own ideas about how to best manage its security, so "there's going to be some people who stay away from [Endpoint Protection]," Vaughn said. "But the simplicity … is going to overpower that in some cases."

Braunberg said that's a "very reasonable" expectation, but he warned that "integrated suites can be a little tough to sell" when compared to best-of-breed solutions. Pricing Endpoint Protection at the same levels as previous AntiVirus versions will help mitigate those concerns, he said.

"They're hoping to make up in volume what they're losing in skews," he said.

The simplicity of the new integrated security products will create other channel opportunities,

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said J.J. Crouse, the director of enterprise security for MSI Systems Integrators in Omaha, Neb. When his customers wanted to address data leak prevention, "we didn't really have a whole lot of options before," he said.

Now, with Information Foundation, VARs and systems integrators only have to work with one decision-maker on the client side -- instead of the four or five who wanted to meet when MSI was putting together custom solutions.

"It really allows us to have more interesting conversations about a true enterprise-class solution," Crouse said.

Novacoast has worked on a Symantec advisory committee during the development of Endpoint Protection, when it was codenamed Hamlet. Maslowski-Yerges also sees an opportunity to integrate it with log analysis on the back end to meet clients' regulatory compliance needs.

"It makes complying with these regulations and being secure a lot easier to live with," he said.

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