SAN FRANCISCO—As the field vying for leadership in enterprise security software narrows, key players are putting their best efforts behind broad packages of tools and services.
But while vendors practice one-upmanship in the effort to be all things to all customers, many users remain cautiously wed to smaller point providers, leaving room for both growth and uncertainty in a market expected to nearly double to $32 billion by 2007.
At the RSA Conference here last week, vendors such as IBM, Computer Associates International Inc., and the newly combined forces of Symantec Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. continued to promote integrated offerings, showing updated products and evangelizing on their überapproach to security.
CAs newly appointed CEO, John Swainson, told eWEEK hes betting his companys future on a combination of system management and security and said he feels few others can offer CAs brand of comprehensive anti-virus, intrusion prevention and management.
“Well concentrate on a small number of things that we can get really good at. In our case, its two-system management and security,” Swainson said. “Were going to try to do those two things astonishingly well and use that to rebuild the franchise.”
“I dont think the combination of Symantec and Veritas makes a whole lot of sense. Symantec is strong in anti-virus and intrusion detection, but thats not core to our franchise. What they are missing is the core infrastructure … the ability to tie that stuff together. They dont have anything like we have in Unicenter,” Swainson said.
CA does have a clear jump on Symantec in the enterprise, having focused almost exclusively on that market for most of the companys history. Symantec is still trying to overcome its image as a provider of mostly consumer-focused anti-virus and security tools and reshape itself into a serious enterprise player.
But while Symantec lacks long experience within the enterprise, its CEO, John Thompson, said he believes that the depth and breadth of the companys product portfolio and ability to offer integrated solutions will give it an edge over CA, Microsoft Corp. and others.
CA has its own troubled history in the enterprise to contend with. After years of poor relations with many of its customers, the company is trying to repair those relationships while selling CIOs on the prospect of CA being a one-stop shop for security and management.
Race Between Security Software Giants Tightens – Page 2
While acknowledging difficulties in impressing financial analysts with its merger, Symantec and Veritas officials continue to maintain that customers “get it” as they talk up combined security and backup offerings in development. “Theres no question [users] want less complexity, less cost in implementation [and] a better way to determine to what extent they are in compliance with evolving regulations or even internal policies,” said Thompson. “The fastest growing part of our business right now is the integrated security gateway.”
Thompson said that in addition to integrated tools, services will be a key part of his companys business. “When you put these two companies together, all of a sudden you have practice-based consulting that can focus on security and availability management, backup and recovery capabilities,” he said.
The first product priority for the new Symantec after the merger will be the creation of what Thompson refers to as “mail hygiene solutions” for the enterprise. He envisions combining Symantecs existing anti-spam, anti-virus and content filtering solutions with Veritas backup and archiving solutions. The resulting offering will be able to identify and block all manner of unwanted e-mail traffic while enabling administrators to securely store and retrieve valuable messages.
Thompson emphasized that Symantecs enterprise customers have made clear to him that they are looking for solutions that will help them cut through the clutter and reduce the complexity they face in their jobs on a daily basis.
Many Symantec customers said they see the value of the merger and the opportunity the company will have to offer integrated security across the enterprise. However, not all of them are sold on the prospect of buying everything from a single provider.
“Symantec in some areas scares me. Their responsiveness in getting out new virus signatures has been dropping, and thats not a good sign,” said Bart Lansing, manager of desktop services at Kohls Corp., in Menomonee Falls, Wis. “Im going to replace a lot of seats of Norton pretty soon because of that. I am not sure I want to be buying really high-end security solutions there.”
As many RSA Conference goers heard, the debate over security methods is hardly academic. Woven into considerations about security tools and services is the growing sense that software vendors and enterprise network owners could soon find themselves being held liable by users whose networks are damaged by security breaches such as the damaging Code Red and Nimda worms.
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