Symantec puts SMB security in a box

Symantec has announced its intentions to pursue the small business market in Australia with the launch of its Gateway Security 300 series of firewall appliances.

The company said it hoped to gain a chunk of the estimated 1.3 million small businesses in Australia, many of which had no in-house, dedicated IT personnel.

Symantec Australia managing director, John Donovan, said the decision to narrow its focus on the SMB market followed results from a recent survey, which indicated 61 per cent of small businesses with updated anti-virus software were still the victim of malicious activity.

The survey, commissioned by Symantec, was based on responses from 2000 small businesses in Australia.

It also indicated that 64 per cent of businesses spent less than 10 per cent of their IT budget on security, yet rated viruses and general security over Internet speed and spam filtering as major IT concerns.

Symantec director of product marketing, Greg Levine, said small businesses were confused and lacked the skills necessary to implement a proper IT security solution.

They were also under the false illusion that anti-virus software alone was enough to protect their networks.

Symantec hopes its Gateway Security product will act as the fabled easy to use, all-in-one security box, providing firewall, VPN, IDS, IPS and content filtering for low-end users.

The product also features an anti-virus policy enforcement capability, barring users from gaining access to the Internet unless the system has the most current updates available. The feature however, only applies to Symantec branded anti-virus software.

Despite the product having no ongoing licence management requirement, resellers still had opportunities to make margins on the initial sale, through service anti-virus client and service quality upgrade sales, Donovan said.

“VARs in particular have the opportunity to become a security partner for small businesses,” he said. “They can configure, implement and manage networks as well as sell associated applications such as antivirus clients.”

Symantec was also researching the inclusion of higher quality spam filters in the product line as an upgrade opportunity for resellers, Levine said. It was likely to affect the price point.

Symantec would investigate taking the line mainstream by moving into the mass merchant space in the near future, Levine said.

The company was also looking into the emerging market of mobile phone security, he said.

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