Symantec Integration and Online Security

Symantec CTO sees a future in protecting and verifying identities online.

As Symantec plots its future course, attestation and authentication technology may be on the horizon.

"One of the other areas that we are looking at we think is going to be very important is how do you evolve identity in the digital world," said CTO Mark Bregman during an interview with eWEEK at Symantec's Vision conference in Las Vegas.

For example, a person may have several online accounts as a result of being on sites such as as well as various online profiles through Web 2.0 social networks-each with information that may or may not be true, Bregman said.

"If you showed up in this room and tried to convince us that you were really a 14-year-old girl, it would be pretty hard," Bregman said. "In cyberspace it's not hard at all. Frankly, you can imagine both kinds of places in cyberspace, some in which they say everybody in here has an authentic validated ID ... and other places where they don't."

"So I think this ID thing is going to be very important as enabler for trust, and ultimately for confidence in this connected world as we move forward," he said. "But it's got a long ways to go, and that's another area that we're looking at that we think is going to be an important opportunity for us, partly because we have such a strong footprint in consumer as well as enterprise space."

But talk of the future at the conference centered on integration, namely Symantec's open collaborative architecture initiative. The approach is the basis for much of the company's integration efforts and a steppingstone for the company's trek toward the convergence of security and systems management.

"[Open collaborative architecture is] a Web services architecture that allows us to integrate our own products but it also allows us to integrate with third-party products or products that are installed at the customer site that they built internally," said Symantec Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem in a conversation with eWEEK. "It's got an underlying workflow engine that allows us to move tasks or data from one app to another app."

Altiris 7.0 will be a key peg in the strategy, as users will be able to manage Symantec Endpoint Protection through Altiris if they choose to do so.

"You can imagine this single console where somebody's managing asset management, software distribution, patch management-all from one place for the customer that wants to do that," Bregman said.

Moving the content awareness capabilities of its data loss prevention technology into its storage products to help customers make intelligent archiving decisions remains a focus for the company, and as infrastructure vendors such as EMC work to bake security into their products, Symantec officials said they will keep an eye toward solving a new set of problems for users.

"We have a product today that will allow to encrypt the contents of your laptop hard drive," Bregman said. "But you know, probably in a couple years the hard drive is going to do that. In fact you can buy those hard drives today. So there'll still be a need that users have, but you won't get it from a separate piece of software; it will be part of the hard drive. Well, that means ... the problem we're going to solve moves. It's no longer the encryption itself, it's how do you manage all the encryption keys."