Symantec Shelves Sygate Personal Firewall

Sygate Personal Firewall products will be a casualty of the company's merger with Symantec, leaving customers without support, but the enterprise product line remains viable.

Symantec Corp. will discontinue sales and support for customers who bought personal security products from Sygate Inc., which Symantec purchased in October.

Symantec is shelving Sygates Personal Firewall and Personal Firewall Pro products on Nov. 30, according to an e-mail statement by Jenna Dee, a spokesperson for Symantec.

The announcement is the first indication that the Cupertino, Calif., company intends to cancel some Sygate products and move customers to its own platform.

This announcement surprised some Sygate customers, who accused Symantec of wanting to kill off competing security technology.

Sygate Personal Firewall Pro customers will receive special upgrade pricing to move to Symantecs Norton family of security products. However, Sygates enterprise software line is not affected by the announcement, Dee said.

Symantecs statement follows misleading notices on its Web site that suggested that the company might be dropping sales and support of Sygates entire product line.

Symantec purchased Sygate for an undisclosed sum to acquire endpoint security and compliance products, such as Sygate On-Demand and Sygate NAC (Network Access Control).

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about how the Sygate merger serves Symantecs endpoint security ambitions.

Symantec has stated publicly that it plans to use Sygates Universal NAC technology to enforce business policies and automate security practice within enterprises, which will help with network security and regulatory compliance. The company also said it plans to integrate Sygates Network Access Control Agent with Symantecs LiveUpdate and LiveState Patch Manager services.

In an interview with eWEEK in August, Sygate President and CEO John De Santis said that for the time being, Symantec would sell all Sygates software as "stand-alone products" following the consummation of the deal. Symantec would begin the job of integrating Sygates technology into the Symantec product portfolio in the first half of 2006, De Santis said.

However, information posted on the Symantec Web site and spotted by some Sygate customers suggested otherwise.

A notice labeled "Service & Support" warns that "all Sygate products and forum support will be discontinued" on Nov. 30.

That message riled some Sygate customers, and prompted broadside attacks on Symantec in one online customer forum.

"Symantec, youre not going to gain any customers from this crime you have perpetrated against us. You have taken away a product many of us wanted to continue using and havent offered a replacement," read one submission to a Sygate support forum by an individual who used the online handle "Colonel Kenobi."

However, the Web site message was a mistake, said Symantec spokesperson Genevieve Haldeman.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor advice on how to secure your network and applications, as well as the latest security news, visit Ziff Davis Internets Security IT Hub.

Dee said Symantec is working to update the notice to specify that only the Personal Firewall and Personal Firewall Pro products are being discontinued.

She added that Symantec plans to continue to support and develop the Sygate enterprise products, including Sygate Enterprise Protection, On-Demand, Network Access Control and Sygate Embedded.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor an eWEEK Labs review of Sygate On-Demand 2.5, click here.

The Sygate purchase left Symantec with new technology for its enterprise customers but overlapping products on the consumer end, Dee said.

"Upon review, the decision was made to offer special pricing and incentives to move customers to the Norton family. In this way we can provide a more consistent experience and level of support," she said.

According to Dee, Sygate firewall users who dont upgrade will still be able to use Web-based technical support for the products.

Symantec did not provide details on what it would do with the Personal Firewall technology it acquired. However, a Symantec executive told eWEEK in October that Symantec plans to replace its enterprise firewall with Sygates technology.

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