Symantec primes security offerings for the enterprise

Businesses want enterprisewide security management, not isolated security devices, according to Symantec Corp. officials, who detailed the company's upcoming strategies during a press briefing Friday at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

"None of our enterprise customers want to talk about firewalls and things like that," said Cress Carter, Symantec's marketing director of enterprise solutions. "They want to talk about security at the gateway, on their servers, and on their desktops. They want Symantec to give them a way to think about security on those three tiers and put it all together. Manageability is the key word."

Accordingly, the company is "rethinking what a gateway security appliance is," Carter said. No new products or services were announced. However, standalone products are expected to roll out later this year, and an integrated management suite is on the schedule within 12 months.

Carter did reveal that future offerings will combine firewalls, intrusion detection software, vulnerability scanning technology, and virus protection tools.

Furthermore, Symantec's new breed of enterprise security products will offer both proactive policy management and reactive incident management. The proactive management toolkit will involve policies that dictate how a network responds to a security breach, while the reactive incident management solutions will help companies determine the effects of a breach as well as the temporary security measures that should be taken.

Another component of the company's strategy is to coax its customers to standardize on Symantec products from end to end. Carter noted that the company's recent acquisition of Axent Technologies, maker of the enterprise-grade Raptor and VelociRaptor firewall packages, has extended Symantec's reach in the enterprise security market. "Everyone's calling us in to look at much larger deployments," Carter said.

Moreover, Carter foresees more businesses certifying their networks against auditing standards. "Accreditation and standards is going to be a big driver" in the security world, Carter said, "because security is no longer a 'nice to have' -- it's a 'have to have.'"Despite the slowdown in the economy, John Thompson, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Symantec, announced that the company expects revenues to grow by 20 percent to 25 percent during the next fiscal year.

"Hackers don't pay attention to the Nasdaq," Thompson said. "We're not immune to a macroeconomic downturn, but security is a top-of-mind issue for CTOs and CEOs."

Thompson did note that if the market continues to struggle, the failure of smaller companies could affect Symantec's profitability. But overall, the CEO expressed financial optimism for the security giant.

"Network Associates is a good company," said Thompson. "But we're going to keep kicking their face in. We build better products."

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