Symantec Moving Beyond Security Into Network Management

Security brand explores opportunities in broader network management field in the wake of strategic acquisitions.

June 19, 2004

3 Min Read
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Cupertino, Calif. - Symantec is looking to expand the company's focus beyond security to provide technology for general network management, according to Stephen Cullen, senior vice president, security products and solutions. "We're moving toward this idea of what we call 'information integrity.' You have to have your information secured but also have your information available," Cullen said in an interview with Security Pipeline at Symantec corporate headquarters here this week.

Information integrity drove Symantec's recent acquisitions of PowerQuest and On Technology, which provided backup and recovery, drive imaging, partition management, patch management, and asset inventory management technology, Cullen said. And information integrity will help drive future acquisitions, he said.

"The new direction is the convergence of security and administration. How do customers manage their network, how do they manage their storage, how do they manage their systems, how security overlays that," Cullen said. As part of the company's traditional security focus, Symantec plans to improve remediation technology, to help customers recover from attacks, he said.

Symantec plans next month to close its acquisition of Brightmail. The goal with the Brightmail acquisition is to combine Symantec anti-virus with Brightmail anti-spam in software and hardware. Brightmail's anti-spam technology is integrated into hardware from IronPort and BorderWare, and those relationships will continue. Symantec will consider offering e-mail protection as a managed service as well, Cullen said.

Symantec will also develop technology to support e-mail filtering by content, allowing e-mail managers to set permitted and forbidden senders, e-mail recipients and content, he said.While the Brightmail acquisition is quite large, $370 million, most of Symantec's acquisitions have been smaller, aimed at "shoring up some technology areas we might have needed to boost a little bit," Cullen said. For example, Symantec bought SafeWeb for clientless VPN technology.

Symantec is confident it can fend off competition from Microsoft, which plans to come out with its own anti-virus products. Microsoft last year acquired anti-virus vendor GeCAD and recently re-iterated plans to come out with anti-virus products.

Symantec can compete with Microsoft by offering integrated antivirus, firewall, behavior blocking and other types of behavior monitoring, Cullen said.

Also, Microsoft's technology will likely be specific to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook; Symantec can offer protection for other mail products too, including Lotus Notes, he said.

Another focus for Symantec is to mitigate problems its customers are having with patch management. "The issue with patches is that they are always reactive, and take a long time to deploy," Cullen said.To augment patch management, Symantec is developing anomaly detection technology, to look for behavior characteristic of a hacker attack and block that behavior even before an attack has started, Cullen said. While security is a problem for all businesses and consumers, Symantec does focus on some vertical industries more than others, Cullen said. In the aftermath of last year's blackouts in the U.S. Northeast, utility companies have increased demand for security technology, and Symantec is developing technology to secure electrical power networks Supervisory Control and Dat Acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Symantec is also increasing its focus on financial industries, and other companies making increased use of Windows XP Embedded.

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