At a meeting with customers and analysts in New York, Symantec Chief Executive John Thompson outlined the companys new enterprise security vision, dubbed "Security 2.0."
The strategy evangelized by Thompson is built around the notion that efforts to defend corporate assets should no longer be seen in terms of applying software or services to individual problems, but should instead be focused on creating a backbone of high-level processes that drive security into every part of a companys operations, in particular Web-based business applications.
Central to Symantecs strategy is the idea that companies must be provided with the confidence to adopt new technologies and online services, rather than be discouraged by the current landslide of security issues, including viruses, online fraud and intellectual property theft. Consumers also need to be convinced that IT security is improving, so that they will adopt more business applications such as online banking, Thompson said.
"Confidence is the essential component in todays digital world," Thompson said at the New York event. "Consumers and enterprises alike need to feel confident that their information is safe and their interactions are secure. Otherwise, the digital lifestyle will not be as exciting or dynamic, and we will not realize the full potential that new technologies bring to the connected world."
To deliver on the new Security 2.0 effort, Symantec introduced a handful of new products specifically aimed at improving protection for end users and businesses alike. For consumers, Symantec said it will continue to focus on applications that better verify individual identities and establish users reputations in order to make online applications less cumbersome and more secure.
For enterprises, Symantec promised to help organizations handle security and compliance risks more effectively, allowing firms to feel safer about increasing access to applications and information for their customers, employees and business partners.
"Security 2.0 is not about a new service or one new killer app; rather, its about mitigating risks in order to seize the amazing opportunities that lie ahead," Thompson said. "Its about integrating software, services and partnerships to protect customers most important assets—their information—and their interactions. Its about pulling together an ecosystem that will provide comprehensive protection to consumers all the way up to large enterprises."
Among the specific products introduced by the security software maker is a new version of its Norton Confidential package, the Online Edition. This set of applications is aimed specifically at banks and other e-commerce sites as a way of protecting online transactions from threats including phishing schemes, Web site pharming and various forms of malware.
For instance, Norton Confidential Online Edition promises to authenticate a banks Web site each time a customer logs into the companys URL to guarantee the legitimacy of the site and identify phishing scams.
Onboard transaction security in the software is meant to further protect users entering sensitive information such as passwords, initiating transactions and banking online, by blocking programs such as keyloggers, those that attempt screen captures and other types of malware designed to steal passwords.
In another step to extend the efficacy of authentication applications, Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., announced a new partnership with infrastructure software specialist and Web registrar VeriSign, based in Mountain View, Calif. Under the partnership, the companies said they will build and market joint security products to fight against the growing problem of identity theft and other forms of Web-based fraud. Symantec said it will initially offer support for the VIP (VeriSign Identity Protection) Authentication Service.
Symantec is also teaming up with massive consultancy Accenture to offer what the firms have labeled "Security Transformation Services," which will seek to help businesses develop and implement new data security policies and technologies, with a focus on simplifying management of such efforts.
The services, which are primarily aimed at helping companies mitigate security risks and will delivered by a new joint organization maintained between the firms, will focus on the three areas of regulatory compliance management, IT applications and systems monitoring, and business applications protection.
"The joint organization [will] provide new solutions that can transform the way our clients manage security and risk in their enterprise," said Alastair MacWillson, global managing director of Security Services for Accenture, based in Hamilton, Bermuda. "While todays announcement is a key part of Accentures broader security business strategy, the solutions provided by the joint organization are a critical aspect of that strategy, and will help our clients improve security while at the same time significantly reducing complexity and cost."
In another enterprise effort, Symantec introduced Symantec Database Security, its latest package for protecting corporate back-end systems. Described by the company as an intelligent and automated monitoring suite, the product offers support for major databases and rapid installation tools. Database Security is the first commercial product released by the companys Advanced Concepts Group, a startup organization within Symantecs Research Labs focused on getting emerging technologies into customers hands faster.
Symantec also introduced its Mail Security 8300 Series appliance, which is designed to protect corporate e-mail and messaging systems. Among the features touted by the security software maker are integrated content filtering tools meant to help stem data leakage, and compliance management features for automating governance of external regulations and internal corporate policies related to e-mail.