Symantec Aims for Data Integrity

New corporate strategy integrates vulnerability assessment, attack prevention, threat mitigation and disaster recovery.

Symantec Corp. is launching a new corporate strategy fusing security and risk management, a concept that the company is calling information integrity.

The strategy, unveiled at a series of simultaneous events around the world last week, is not entirely new and is, in part, a restatement of concepts that Symantec and other companies have been focusing on for some time. The heart of the idea is that for information to be useful to an organization it must be both highly available and secure. If either condition is not met, the data is useless. This is the same concept behind the decades-old discipline of information assurance.

In Symantecs world, the key to delivering information integrity is the integration of vulnerability assessment, attack prevention, threat mitigation and disaster recovery. The company plans to integrate more of the products in its ever-expanding portfolio to make it easier for customers to protect their networks with fewer potential points of failure, officials said.

Symantec is also adding new technologies to its products, including generic exploit-blocking. This capability can be used to analyze new vulnerabilities and "fingerprint" them so the security device will recognize and block attacks targeting those particular weaknesses.

"Were aiming for more integration with fewer moving parts," said Robert Clyde, vice president and chief technology officer at Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif. "As a general rule, well be looking for areas of integration and consolidation."

This theme of integration and consolidation is not unique to Symantec. Many of the companys competitors, including McAfee Inc. and Computer Associates International Inc., have been following similar paths recently. McAfee, in particular, has been paring down its product line and jettisoning anything that isnt directly related to security in general and intrusion prevention specifically. Like Symantec, McAfee has been adding new features and capabilities to its integrated security appliances and intrusion prevention offerings.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about McAfees acquisition of vulnerability management specialist Foundstone.

As part of the new strategy, Symantec last week announced two updated products, ESM (Enterprise Security Manager) 6.1 and Symantec Gateway Security 4.0. The new version of ESM includes features to aid with compliance reporting and preconfigured modules for Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act assessments.

Another key component of the information integrity strategy as articulated by Symantec is the companys Live Update service. The service typically is used to send updated anti-virus signatures to users of the companys Norton AntiVirus products. Going forward, Symantec will be sending the exploit-blocking fingerprints via Live Update, as well, Clyde said. The key, he added, is to get the customers updates as soon as possible once the vulnerability is analyzed.

Safe and Sound
Technologies in Symantecs new information integrity strategy:

  • Risk assessment
  • Generic exploit-blocking
  • Endpoint compliance-checking

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