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Symantec endpoint protection latest version pitched to partners

Symantec announced a new version of its Endpoint Protection product and small business edition, citing three new features that will be important to its channel partners.

Symantec Corp. announced version 12 of its Endpoint Protection product, as well as an upgrade for the small business edition of the product. It claims the new versions are a significant leap forward in Symantec antimalware and antivirus security that channel partners will find easy to sell and install.

Symantec announced Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 and Small Business Edition 12.1 at RSA Conference 2011. The products will be available as beta versions in April, with general availability planned for this summer.

New product details
The benefits of Endpoint Protection 12 and Small Business Edition 12.1, according to Symantec, are based on three new features. "These features represent a fundamental change in the way we secure endpoints," said Randy Cochran, vice president of North America channel sales at Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec. Cochran noted that each of the new features can serve as talking points for its channel partners calling on their customers.

Symantec made a strong effort to get partners involved in testing version 12, to make sure it was polished by the time it gets to customers.
I don't
expect much disruption this time at all.


Chris Sarsfield
PresidentSarsfield Technology

The first feature is the use of reputation-based security, to bolster its signature-based antivirus. Symantec has collected information about more than 2.5 billion executable files on the Internet and stored it in a database called Insight. Symantec believes the Insight database is larger and more comprehensive than its competitors, compiled over its four-year history with Norton products. "Our partners can feel comfortable that they are backed by such large scale and size," Cochran said.

Second, Symantec claims the new Endpoint Protection versions are very light and will not degrade system performance. "Customers won't even know it's running, because it won't bog down their performance," Cochran said.

Third, the new versions are intended to be easier to install. Symantec estimates a security solution provider would need just 20 minutes to install or upgrade their customer to Endpoint Protection 12 or Small Business Edition 12.1.

Resources for Symantec channel partners
Symantec is encouraging its channel partners to sign up now via the Symantec PartnerNet portal to receive the beta as soon as possible. Partners can begin using the new products in-house to become familiar with them before they become generally available this summer.

Symantec also intends to provide its channel partners with marketing tools, including a competitive report comparing Endpoint Protection 12 and Small Business Edition 12.1 against the competition. In an advance briefing to, Symantec revealed some key points from this competitive report. Based on its own, internal benchmark, Symantec is reporting that the new Endpoint Protection blocks 96.2% of all malware at this time, compared to 80% blocked by its next closest competitor. The vendor also reports that its product scans 3.5 times faster than McAfee, and two times faster than Microsoft endpoint protection products.

Chris Sarsfield, president of Troy Mich.-based Sarsfield Technology, noted that Symantec's 2008 introduction of the previous version of Endpoint Protection was problematic, causing disruption in some customer's environments. However, he believes Symantec is handling the version 12 roll-out much better. "Symantec made a strong effort to get partners involved in testing version 12, to make sure it was really polished by the time it gets to customers," Sarsfied said. "I don't expect much disruption this time at all."

Sarsfield noted that his company is also working with Symantec to install the beta version at some of his customers' sites. "We've got the trust relationship with the customers, not necessarily Symantec, so we can provide feedback on how the new version behaves in an actual production environment where custom software is already running."

Positive early test results 
Alex Solovyev, a networking support technician at Waterloo, Iowa-based Networking Solutions, tested Symantec Endpoint Protection version 12 and came away satisfied. "Based on the information provided by Symantec and my personal testing, the product is very stable," he said.

Symantec's design for faster scans and less resource consumption is important to Solovyev. "My Symantec customers have complained in the past about the speed of full scans -- how long it takes and that the system resources are so occupied that the computer cannot be used. Now with new "scanless" file scans and background scanning, this will not be an issue any more," Solovyev predicted.

The beta version will be provided at no cost to Symantec channel partners. Installing the beta in-house will give security solution providers a chance to see for themselves if the Symantec Endpoint Protection latest versions will be a good option for their customers.

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