Symantec Moves Closer to Delivering vPro Security

The Symantec Virtual Security Solution will work within virtual partitions to monitor network traffic and protect against attacks without interfering with the PC's operating system.

Symantec is moving closer to offering its first security appliance that will work with Intels vPro technology.

The release of Symantecs Virtual Security Solution application will likely coincide with Intels update of its vPro technology—now called code-named Weybridge—later in 2007.

Gary Sabala, a senior product manager for Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., did not offer a specific date for the release but said it should be by the end of 2007. He added that the application is now in the hands of a few beta customers.

vPro is a business platform from Intel that offers a number of management and security features that make it easier for IT managers to oversee an entire fleet of PCs. The technology was first introduced in April 2006 for desktops only. PC vendors began shipping systems with vPro in September.

With the release of its new Centrino Pro mobile platform on May 9, Intel added vPro technology for business laptops for the first time.

As part of the 2006 launch of vPro, Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., began encouraging third-party vendors to develop software to take advantage of the some of the virtualization technology—the ability to partition a PC to run different types of software simultaneously—that it had built into the platform. These virtual partitions allow for specialized management and security software to be housed on the PC.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels updated version of its vPro platform.

Symantec was the first company to offer security software, while Altiris was tapped to offer a management agent.

For security purposes, Intel software helps create virtual partitions to allow for a checkpoint between the network and the PCs operating system and the data. The security application then monitors the network traffic going into the machine and will detect it if the PC has been infected with malware.

The Symantec Virtual Security Solution will reside within one of these virtual partitions, where it can monitor and analyze the network traffic coming into the PC and help root out vulnerabilities, such as zero-day attacks, within this isolated environment without interfering with the PCs operating system.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about what Symantec is doing about software piracy.

If a piece of malware does manage to find its way onto the computer, the Symantec security application can either send out an alert to the IT administrator, isolate the machine from the rest of the network or prevent the PC from booting up to ensure that the virus does not spread.

The idea behind offering this layer of security is to cut down on the number of times IT managers have to visit individual PCs to address problems.

"What this does is build on Intels VT technology," Sabala said, referring to virtualization technology built into Intel chips. "Weve been talking with a lot of customers and IT managers and we feel this will help cut down on the time it takes them to manage security configurations and security threats with end users."

The first release of Symantecs security application for vPro will work with Microsoft Windows XP. Later, the application will also work with the Windows Vista operating system, Sabala said.

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