Symantec opens up with management suite

Symantec Corp. unveiled its new security strategy Tuesday to attendees here at Symantec’s Vision 360 conference.

The Symantec Security Management System is a set of management applications that help CIOs, CSOs or CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) control the security infrastructure and correlated information.

Gail Hamilton, executive vice-president of product delivery and response for Symantec, said this tool will allow Symantec’s event management and incident management tools talk to each other, and even to integrate with non-Symantec tools.

The management system is built on Symantec’s new platform — the Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture (SESA) — which is the common foundation that all future Symantec products will be based on. This platform is based on open standards, and Hamilton said it will allow security tools to run on Microsoft, Linux, AIX, Unix and other platforms.

The prevailing theme of Symantec’s conference branched out from this new architecture as company executives spoke about open management and the security heavyweight said there is an obvious need for a variety of security tools at every level of an IT infrastructure. Companies have embraced antivirus, intrusion detection and firewall products. Symantec contends that the problem is that none of these tools are talking to each other or being managed effectively.

John Thompson, Chairperson and CEO of Symantec, said there are plenty of really good protection tools available today, but security problems still exist, and “all indications are that problems are only going to get worse.” Thompson added that some of the tried-and-true concepts of defense need to be applied technology

security sectors. He used banks as an example, noting they not only have to worry about security internally on their machines, but also on customers’ machines.

He said security is going through a change right now, in the same way client/server and other technology has. First there is innovation, followed by proliferation and then collaboration. Interoperability is now key, he said, noting it is at the top of customers’ wish lists.

Feilpe Zarate, vice-president of business development for Net2s Inc., a technology consulting firm with an arm devoted to security implementations, in New York, said the need for this type of openness between products will depend on the implementation. There have been mumbles about interoperability between security products for quite some time now, according to Zarate.

“This is just the same story,” he said. “But coming from a company that has acquired some of the technology Symantec has it looks like they have the main ingredients. It all depends how they cook them.”

Zarate was referring to Symantec’s July acquisition of Riptech Inc., which provided managed security services real-time information protection through its Caltarian technology platform. “I think the time is right for consolidation and Symantec has taken some of the best steps to get into this market.”

The key now, Zarate said, will be seeing if Symantec can walk the walk. “They are going to be able to sell this management solution, but can they deliver? There is nobody else with this product today.”

He did predict that other security companies like ISS will not be far behind Symantec in bringing in management suites like this to the market.