The enterprise anti-virus market is on the verge of a major shake-up, as Symantec Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc., two of the industrys largest players, are set to introduce significant new products and perhaps permanently shift the balance of power in the anti-virus industry. The result: a bigger variety of more robust anti-virus options to choose from.
Symantec next week plans to introduce its revamped lineup of SGS (Symantec Gateway Security) 5400-series appliances, integrated boxes that augment their anti-virus capabilities with a host of other features, including intrusion prevention and detection, a firewall, and content filtering. For its part, CA this week will announce the new version of its flagship eTrust Antivirus software, which now includes expanded reporting capabilities and a single console for managing all an enterprises clients, regardless of platform or device.
The new SGS 5400 appliances use a different architecture than most all-in-one security boxes. Instead of sending incoming traffic through each security application sequentially, the SGS boxes security operations are meshed together and integrated to improve speed and performance, officials said.
“There arent multiple stacks and multiple handoffs,” said Howard Lev, group product manager for appliances at Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif. “Its not just three nets thrown together to catch more fish. We redesigned the net.”
In addition to the integrated security capabilities, the 5400-series boxes include a Web-based management interface and plug-ins for the Symantec Enterprise Security Architecture to aid in centralized policy configuration and reporting. Symantec has also created flexible licensing for the appliances, to allow customers to purchase the security technologies a la carte.
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CA has decided to stick with a software approach to its anti-virus efforts. The companys eTrust Antivirus 7.1, due for release this fall, includes support for a variety of wireless devices, including those running Microsoft Corp.s Pocket PC operating system or the Smartphone platform. The new version also has a unified management console that can handle the administration of any client on any platform, including Linux, NetWare, Windows and Unix. CA has added dozens of reports to eTrust Antivirus 7.1, giving customers more than 60 reports from which to choose—all accessible from the management console. “Weve created enough reports for the anti-virus administrator to keep management happy,” said Ian Hameroff, eTrust security strategist at CA, based in Islandia, N.Y.
Customers said the improvements in Version 7.1 put it solidly in the upper tier of enterprise anti-virus products. “Weve always liked the two [scanning] engines. The idea of having a chance to catch things in two places is nice,” said Leo Dittemore, director of technology services at Healthcare Partners Medical Group, based in Torrance, Calif., which replaced Symantec and McAfee products with eTrust Antivirus. “The central administration and reporting in 7.1 addresses a lot of our concerns about knowing whats going on,” Dittemore said.
Meanwhile, Network Associates Inc. has moved back from its focus on the anti-virus space and is concentrating much of its resources on reshaping the company into an intrusion prevention vendor. This has left the door open for Symantec and especially CA, which recently made a big play in the enterprise anti-virus market. Company officials said the gains CA has made in the market are the result of competitive wins over established competitors, mainly NAI and Symantec.
“Network Associates is refocusing their efforts, so its not as much of an anti-virus company now,” said analyst Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security LLC, in Malvern, Pa. “It doesnt surprise me. Symantecs ability to successfully address mail-borne viruses is because they nail them at the gateway, and theyre using that technology to do more than just [anti-virus].”
NAI officials said anti-virus is still a big part of NAIs strategy and will be for the foreseeable future, reports a spokesman for McAfee Security, a division of NAI, based in Santa Clara, Calif.
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