Bundles aside, Symantec integrates

The number of viruses and malicious threats is ever on the rise, and beefing up security at the PC level is becoming not only increasingly important, but imperative to the health of the corporate network.

And while there are a good many security vendors ready to tout their wares to protect the enterprise from these attacks, Symantec Corp. has taken a new approach with its latest security release.

Called Symantec Client Security, the offering from the Cupertino, Calif. company not only provides the firewall, intrusion detection and antivirus components to enable security for the corporate PC, but has integrated them together to be managed from a single console.

According to Michael Murphy, Canadian general manager for Symantec in Toronto, Symantec Client Security evolved out of customer demands and requests to have security without the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors, products and licences.

“Customers want to expand security beyond the desktop antivirus,” Murphy told Network World Canada. “They don’t want multiple technology taking up multiple amounts of memory and disk space that don’t actually work or communicate with each other.”

He said that handling the growing amount of vulnerabilities and threats is an overwhelming task for network administrators. Murphy added that in-house expertise is typically limited, as is bandwidth and resources to help these administrators deal with changes on a daily basis. To make matters worse, he said that the typical security environment today consists of firewall, intrusion detection and antivirus, each provided by different vendors with no method of communication amongst them.

“We have a single integrated management console that provides an integrated response, integrated deployment and installation for all of those key technologies…in a single install on a single computer,” he explained. “The differentiator for Symantec Client Security for the enterprise is that each of those components tie together and talk to each other.”

For example, Murphy said, the firewall component can launch antivirus capabilities that scan and detect malicious code. The intrusion detection component is able to instruct the firewall to block access or restrict access to certain IP addresses. The antivirus can also instruct the firewall to block incoming information.

Symantec has gone so far as to add encryption between the firewall, antivirus and intrusion detection components themselves to ensure that all communication within the solution is secure, the company said, a feature that puts the icing on the cake for Warren Chaisatien.

The senior analyst for IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto said that it is encouraging that Symantec is trying its hardest to incorporate all technologies and components to even out some of the fragmentedness of today’s networks. However, he cautioned that although seemingly a sturdy offering, as security gets better, so do the threats hampering it.

“With the rising popularity of non-PC devices, we keep hearing of new types of viruses and threats coming into the market, some of which can be transmitted wirelessly,” he said. “Given the fact that going forward more companies are adopting remote access through technologies like VPN, it gets very complex.

“However, if I was an IT manger, I would certainly have a look at this product. It sounds very interesting and if it can work like Symantec says it can, I think it can solve a lot of IT and network headaches.”

Symantec Client Security is available now through resellers. For more information, visit