Symantec moves into storage, systems management

By Heidi Biggar

Symantec, a leading supplier of security software and services, last month created a new business division tasked with solving users' end-to-end security management problems. Symantec Enterprise Administration (SEA) will develop a line of integrated security software that goes beyond Symantec's traditional core capabilities, extending into systems and storage management.

The storage functionality comes largely from Symantec's acquisition of PowerQuest, while the systems management component comes in part from the acquisition of ON Technology.

"The only true secure infrastructure is a managed infrastructure that includes storage, systems, and security management," says Don Kleinschnitz, vice president of product delivery at Symantec. Traditional security products and services only address a piece of the problem, he claims.

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When it comes to security, mid-sized and large enterprises face three common management challenges: provisioning (being able to migrate and build systems at the rate of arrival of new operating systems), patch mediation (being able to update software in real-time as new vulnerabilities are detected), and protection (being able to protect critical systems and information at the rate of creation), explains Kleinschnitz.

Symantec believes the key to solving these problems—and other related management issues—is an integrated management suite that spans systems, security, and storage management (see figure).

By combining these three areas under a single software umbrella, Symantec says users will be able to more efficiently manage their hardware and software assets, improve overall security and availability, reduce staffing requirements, improve governance and compliance, and be able to quickly respond to changes (e.g., operating system updates, security changes, etc.).

The idea is to go beyond traditional security management (e.g., alert, detection, and prevention) and secure the entire IT infrastructure as well as securely manage the end-to-end life cycles of computing resources.

For example, users will be able to do things like perform backups or deploy patches real-time as events (e.g., viruses) occur, adjust protection levels on a more granular level based on security threats, quarantine backups as necessary, and scan servers for compliance.

SEA's application suite will cover five areas: installation design, software provisioning and design, patch management and Help Desk operations, asset management, and data protection/recovery/archive.

A number of products are currently available from SEA; however, new versions of the software modules, as well integration of the modules, are expected later this year. Like Symantec's core security products, the software will initially support Windows. Support for Linux and PDAs is planned.

This article was originally published on June 01, 2004