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6/26/2006
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Symantec Bundles Security Services

Threat and Vulnerability Management Program blends security alerts with consulting

Symantec on Wednesday will unveil the Symantec Threat and Vulnerability Management Program, a bundled global threat intelligence and security consulting service to help companies prioritize and handle threats such as malicious code alerts.

The new service uses Symantec's DeepSight Alert Services, which provides risk analysis of vulnerabilities and threats based on severity and impact, but provides more detail and analysis of what to do with that information. "DeepSight is a great service for 90 percent of our customers, but we do have a set of customers where a threat is [rated as] a seven for the finance department, but only a four or three for marketing," says Ted Donat, group product manager for Symantec Consulting Services.

Customers who purchase the new Symantec service get a proprietary Symantec tool that the company helps them customize with parameters on what the impact and severity of a specific threat would mean to the organization. So they can assign whether Bob in IT would take on a specific problem and if other threats merit no action at all, according to Symantec.

"It interacts with the data, which DeepSight doesn't do," says Donat. "So on Microsoft's Super Tuesday when everyone is running around with their hair on fire, we can send in the security intelligence, and they'll always be able to figure out 'what does this mean to me?' And 'what's my vulnerability posture?'" he says. "We send in the security intelligence [with this service], and they are always able to prioritize and measure that."

The service provides some visualization, reporting, and workflow but doesn't do actual vulnerability scanning. "It tells you what the vulnerabilities are out there, how to prioritize them against your risk posture, and then who to call."

Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst for IT-Harvest, says the new Symantec service doesn't compete with McAfee's Falcon Total Protection service, for instance, but instead it is more of a bundled service. He also questions the timing of the announcement. "It is a bundling of service offerings targeted at building Symantec's services revenue at a time that they are acknowledging their failure in the security appliance business by discontinuing those product lines," Stiennon says.

Donat could not comment on whether or how the announcement relates to Symantec's decision to discontinue its security appliance business, and the Symantec spokesman for this was not available at presstime.

Under Symantec's new Threat and Vulnerability Management Program (under the Symantec Global Consulting Services organization), Symantec's consultants first assess an organization's threat and vulnerability with a report summarizing the hot spots in its current security posture as well as recommendations on how to be more proactive and reduce any risks. Symantec then designs a custom threat and vulnerability framework and helps the organization implement and manage it.

The service comes in two flavors. One where Symantec basically provides you with the technology, training and consulting to get it up and running. That's $200,000 for the first year and $100,000 for subsequent years of the contract. The second option is with a dedicated Symantec consultant onsite who manages the service, for $400,000 the first year and $300,000 for subsequent years on the contract.

Donat says consulting is the crux of Symantec's offering. "Nobody is doing this end-to-end service."

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE) Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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