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5/31/2006
08:45 AM
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Symantec Sets Out Roadmap

Vendor talks up storage, security, and on-demand services

Symantec has a roadmap for a slew of new enterprise security and storage products, as well as new consumer offerings designed to lock down user devices.

At the company's analyst day today, Jeremy Burton, Symantec's group president for enterprise security and data management, revealed that the firm is hard at work on a new product, code-named "Project Hamlet." The software, which is scheduled for launch in early 2007, will combine technology from the vendor's Sygate and WholeSecurity acquisitions as well as Symantec's existing anti-virus offerings. (See Symantec Strolls Off With Sygate, Symantec to Acquire Sygate, and Symantec Buys WholeSecurity .)

"It's a fully-integrated piece of security software to protect every endpoint," he explains, adding that Symantec also plans to launch a mobile version of the technology about a quarter after the initial release.

But Burton, who wrestled with microphone problems throughout his talk, noted that the vendor is still thrashing out the specifics of the new product line. "We have not determined the exact packaging for the Hamlet project," he explained. "We will make the call as to exactly how we price it closer to the release of the product."

Symantec's plans suggest that the vendor is looking to claw its way into the Network Admission Control (NAC) market, largely off the back of Sygate's technology. Prior to last summer's acquisition, there had been plenty of speculation about who would buy the startup, which offers software for enforcing security policies across a range of devices. (See Could Sygate Get Snapped Up?.)

Burton also confirmed, in response to a question from an analyst, that Symantec will make more of its email and messaging management products available through an "on demand" pricing model in the future.

This kind of pricing allows customers to pay only for the software they use, instead of paying up front for a load of licenses they may not ultimately require.

The vendor, he added, is also planning to launch a new version of its Enterprise Vault messaging management product later this year, which will offer file system enhancements. (See Symantec, Orchestria Team Up, and Symantec Upgrades Vault.)

But Burton warned that users increasingly face a completely new set of challenges when it comes to locking down their corporate networks. "A couple of years ago, we would have been talking about hackers seeking notoriety," he said. In contrast, hackers are now looking to surreptitiously install software on corporate desktops for purposes such as keystroke logging, which can steal critical data.

Security, however, was not the only topic of discussion today, and Symantec execs confirmed that they are preparing a major new release of the NetBackup product they inherited when they bought storage vendor Veritas for $13.5 billion last year. (See Shareholders OK Veritas/Symantec Merger, Symantec, Veritas Complete Merger, and M&A Worries Stall Symantec Shares.)

Kris Hagerman, head of Symantec's data center management business, confirmed that NetBackup 6.5 will be available early next year. (See Symantec Envisions Dominance, Symantec Tackles Backup, and Symantec Dips Into De-Dupe.)

Away from the enterprise, Enrique Salem, Symantec's group president for consumer products, explained that the vendor has two major new products up its sleeve: Norton 360 (code-named Genesis) and Norton Confidential (code-named Voyager). Both are likely to make their debut in the first half of next year.

Norton 360 will focus on transaction and system security, whereas Norton Confidential will offer users web browser protection and anti-phishing features, he explained.

Norton 360 will also offer users some storage capabilities, according to Salem. "Genesis will be the first mainstream product that will deliver online backup," he said. But the exec would not divulge exactly how much storage users will receive, although he did confirm that they will be able to add additional capacity, albeit for a price. "As people move to multiple Gbytes, there will be a premium associated with that," he said.

Janice Chaffin, Symantec's chief marketing officer, revealed that vendor, which has already announced partnerships with Google and Adobe, will be forging more deals with other big-name firms. This, she explained, will help the vendor reach new consumers, as Symantec looks to raise its brand profile. "We have just started to roll out a rebate debit card [for users]," she said, adding the vendor is also planning a consumer loyalty card.

Symantec execs avoided any discussion of their current lawsuit against Microsoft during today's call. (See Symantec Locks Horns With Microsoft.)

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch. Special to Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Sygate Technologies Inc.
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

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