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Symantec Wants To Be Security's Microsoft

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.

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.

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