Symantec Tackles Endpoint Security

After years of pushing for security frameworks, enterprises are moving back to endpoint solutions because mobile users have left network security more full of holes than Swiss cheese.

As laptops become more commonplace in the enterprise, so are security holes.

It's almost impossible to prevent a user from logging on to unsecured wireless networks or download applications from the Web or CDs onto their laptops.

That has led enterprises to add endpoint security into their overall security strategy.

"Most attacks to the enterprise are at the end point," Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research director Scott Crawford told

The latest option designed to address the endpoint security issue is the just-released Symantec Endpoint Management Suite 1.0. It consists of integrated applications for systems management, endpoint security, and backup and recovery.

These are Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0, Altiris Client Management Suite 6, and Backup Exec Systems Recovery 8 Desktop Edition.

"It's all about the endpoint now because we've become more mobile, and can't be sure that we'll be behind a corporate firewall any more," Forrester senior analyst Natalie Lambert told

Where corporations used to depend on enterprise security frameworks, they are finding that these aren't valid any more because devices aren't permanently secured behind the firewall any longer.

"The perimeter doesn't exist, and we've had to poke lots of holes in the network to provide user access so the network's like Swiss cheese," Lambert said.

Enterprises should treat every endpoint as "its own little infrastructure, with its network access control, its own firewall, its own encryption, its own data leak protection," she added.

They are moving towards that approach, with 55 percent of enterprises conjoining systems management and security, Lambert said.

But that "still leaves 45 percent who treat them separately," she added.

A hot market

So, the market for complete endpoint security solutions is picking up, and major security vendors are "all going in the direction of putting every single protection in an endpoint solution and having that solution fully managed," Lambert said.

Symantec's chances of staying in the game are good because it's "one of the few companies that can bring management resources to bear in terms of endpoint systems and security management," EMA's Crawford said.

It's further loading the bases in its favor by using the Altiris platform for Symantec Endpoint Management Suite 1.0.

Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) acquired Altiris last year, in a move widely expected to beef up its capabilities to provide complete endpoint system management and security systems.

The Altiris platform has a software development kit (SDK) which lets third party companies integrate into it, and Symantec will leverage that.

The platform's SDK "lets us work well with other products such as Microsoft SMS and HP OpenView," Kevin Murray, Symantec's senior director product marketing, endpoint security and management, told

"We want to integrate and grab information from Active Directory, SMS, OpenView, IBM Tivoli, put it into a common database and manage it all through a common console."

Consolidating functionality at the endpoint is part of the trend in the enterprise, and Symantec's not alone; it's going up against LANDesk and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Neither has as complete a product as Symantec, Lambert said. (LANDesk and Microsoft could not provide comment or an interview for this article by press time).

"LANDesk has its own technology and where they have gaps they partner with third parties," Lambert added. "Microsoft has all the pieces, but doesn't have them fully integrated into Forefront."

She expects Microsoft to complete integration within the next year and to become a major player when that happens.

TAGS: security,Microsoft,wireless,Symantec,endpoint

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