Symantec, Dell Team on Secure Email

Offering includes email security, backup, recovery, and archiving for midsized Microsoft Exchange environments

Dell and Symantec will offer a turnkey Microsoft Exchange service for midsized enterprises that encompasses email security, backup and recovery, and archiving, the two companies said today.

Executives from the two companies say the new Secure Exchange, which will be marketed and sold by Dell, is aimed at organizations with anywhere from 500 to 2,000 Exchange users. Secure Exchange consists of Dell PowerEdge servers, PowerVault storage, Dell/EMC storage, Symantec's Mail Security 8200 Series, Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange, and Enterprise Vault and Backup Exec. Users can also buy it piecemeal as well.

Jeremy Burton, group president of Symantec's Security and Data Management Group, says Secure Exchange will also help midsized businesses better manage litigation and compliance. He says since 90 percent of email is spam, this tool will improve productivity for email, now considered a mission-critical app in most organizations.

And since most email inside an organization at some point contains intellectual property, safeguarding messaging is important, he says. "In lawsuits, one of the first things they look for is email," and these smaller companies must also comply with SEC email retention and disclosure regulations, for instance.

The deal has made some strange bedfellows, too: Dell is now selling EMC Clariions along with Symantec software, which competes with EMC's EmailXtender software. EmailXtender is also aimed at email discovery and retention for Exchange and IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino.

Meanwhile, Burton says Secure Exchange's security features block most incoming viruses, spam, phishing attacks, and malware as well as filters outgoing mail for these same threats. "We also stop important things from going out, such as credit card numbers and SSNs."

Dell already competes against HP and IBM in Exchange environments, notes Charlotte Dunlap, an information security analyst with Current Analysis. "This is a great up-sell opportunity for Symantec to tap Dell's Exchange customers looking to solve the time- and storage-consuming problem of email threats through this bundled arrangement."

This turnkey messaging solution is kind of retro, too. "We're talking here about organizations that don't have the time in a day to do what they have to do," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Consulting. "It's funny, but in the mainframe days, this is the way we did everything. If you've got a halfway-staffed IT organization, this isn't what you'd want to use. But so many organizations have cut back on IT support and have to outsource."

Enderle says Dell's marketing model provides some cost-efficiencies that make this a more competitive offering than other services. "It won't work well if there's lots of customization" in an Exchange environment, he says. "This is for those midsized companies using off-the-shelf, generic Exchange."

And this is only the first such turnkey offering for Dell, says Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's Enterprise Product Group. "These tools put control back into the customer's hands and make it much simpler than the consulting agreements we had done." Anderson says Dell will work with other tier-one enterprise vendors in "this space," such as Microsoft and Oracle. "You're going to see more of this." The needs of medium-sized organizations aren't being met today, he adds.

Dell will handle all first-line support for Secure Exchange, and Symantec will be brought in for any "level three" support, Anderson says. Pricing starts at $54,678 for a 500-seat site and will initially be sold only in the U.S. and Europe.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)
  • World Cellular Information Service (WCIS)