Symantec targets new security threats

Symantec Corp. used its Vision 2006 conference in San Francisco this month to stake out new turf in the protection business, outlining a broader approach to security that aims to protect the enterprise from infrastructure and information right thru to interactions.

Taking the stage for the Cupertino, Calif.-based security vendor in his keynote address, CEO John Thompson expanded on a new approach that harnesses the combined strengths of Symantec and Veritas — the backup and storage products company Symantec acquired last year.

As part of this new approach to security, Thompson said two key areas of focus would be message management and IT policy compliance. This comes in response to what Symantec sees as the “bigger and more insidious [security] challenges” facing enterprises today, and Thompson said all the company’s product and support offerings would be geared toward these new threats.

“Sophisticated criminal elements are now behind many of today’s attacks and, unlike many hackers of the past, are more interested in anonymity than notoriety,” said Thompson. “What these criminals are searching for is personal and financial information — and they are looking to use it for serious financial gain.”

To meet these new security challenges Thompson is strongly advocating a “layered approach”, where security is moved closer to the information itself.

“The notion that you can secure the end point, and therefore secure the (data), or that by securing the network you secure the entire (organization), is just not true,” says Thompson.

The company also used the Vision conference to release a free version of its Veritas Storage Foundation product, called Veritas Storage Foundation Basic, designed to entice enterprise customers into installing the storage management software on servers running outside of the data center.

Storage Foundation is often used on very large servers running databases, but the software is far less commonly used on smaller systems like file servers or Web servers. With a free product, Symantec is hoping to broaden the appeal of its software, said Kris Hagerman, senior vice-president of Symantec’s Data Center Management group.

Customers can only use the free version on small servers. Those that want to use the product on servers with more than two processors, or on servers that host more than four file systems or hard-drive partitions, will have to pay, said Hagerman.

The free software comes as Symantec is beta-testing a new 5.0 version of its Storage Foundation software suite, which it expects to ship in July.

The update will include improvements in the way the Storage Foundation moves information onto different types of storage devices — a process called dynamic storage tiering — as well as performance and data replication advancements.

However, according to Hagerman, the most interesting new component of the 5.0 product will be the Storage Foundation Management Server, which will allow administrators to view and make changes to the storage on many different Storage Foundation servers.

Bradley Bishop, a senior software engineer with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), said the Management Server is an interesting enhancement.

“We’ll be able to deploy this across our whole computing area,” he said. “For us to be able to support this across hundreds of thousands of nodes makes it attractive.”

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