McAfee and Symantec Square Off over Hamlet

With the beta version of ePolicy Orchestrator 4.0 out, McAfee is launching an attack on Symantec's upcoming endpoint security tool, code-named Hamlet.

McAfee put a new version of its security management software, ePolicy Orchestrator, in its holster and is taking aim at rival vendor Symantec and its Endpoint Protection Version 11, code-named Hamlet.

ePolicy Orchestrator, or ePo, serves as a management console across McAfees security products. The new version, 4.0, was made available in beta June 11 and includes improved Web-based controls, configurable reports and other enhancements aimed at making it easier for IT personnel to manage multiple security and compliance applications. The product is designed to take a holistic approach to security, providing centralized management capabilities for endpoint and network security as well as risk and compliance, said Vimal Solanki, senior director of worldwide product marketing for McAfee.

Armed with these new features, Solanki launched into an attack on Symantecs Hamlet.

"What Symantec is delivering is just what customers were looking for last year, which is focused on anti-virus, desktop firewall. … What McAfee has done is move way beyond that to add both network security as part of ePo as well as risk and compliance solutions," Solanki said.

Slated to be available in September, Hamlet integrates a number of security technologies into a single agent at the endpoint with the goal of enabling customers to reduce costs and complexity. It is NAC-ready, Symantec officials said, and the software is integrated into the same endpoint agent and management console—though users must purchase a separate license to enable it.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Symantecs "Hamlet."

George Myers of Symantec expressed puzzlement at McAfees attacks, adding McAfee lacks an endpoint security tool with the coverage provided by Hamlet.

"No one else offers this integration at the endpoint," said Myers, director of product management. "Our goal is to make this product our global No.1 product for small and medium businesses."

According to information from Symantec, Hamlet takes one agent to deploy at the endpoint and incorporates technology from the companys security tools as well as technology from the Veritas, Sygate and Whole Security acquisitions.

For its part, McAfee released its Total Protection security package last year, an offering that integrates its endpoint and network security products. ePolicy Orchestrator 4.0 is part of that suite and features a Web-based console to give customers access to their customized console without having to install any software on their systems.

"Weve embraced the notion of a single policy-based console for all the products the management console manages for about seven, eight years now," Solanki said. "If you compare that to Symantec, they are coming out with a centralized console for the first time."

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Forrester Research analyst Natalie Lambert said though Symantec may lag behind McAfees product in some regards, Hamlet will be a great step forward for the company.

"While McAfee will still offer a more advanced solution than Symantec, the majority of customers will see these two solutions as comparable—not many people are ready for data leak prevention on the endpoint," she said. "This isnt to say that they shouldnt deploy it—they just arent ready yet.

"Expect Symantec, Sophos and Microsoft to come up with compelling solutions across security and management over the next five years," she continued. "The future of client security is management. The IT organization needs full visibility into the health and compliance of its endpoints, and the products in the space will continue to integrate with additional components to deliver a solid solution."

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