Symantec puts ‘Hamlet’ centre stage at customer event

CALEDON, Ont. – Symantec Corp. is putting the finishing touches on a software suite that will integrate its anti-virus, compliance, endpoint, backup and recovery products into something that can be managed from a single console.

Code-named Hamlet, Symantec plans to launch the product in the second quarter of this year, executives told a group of Canadian customers at an invite-only conference late last week. It will contain Symantec’s flagship enterprise software tools as well as those it has gained through a series of acquisitions over the last few years. This includes technology from Sygate, which it bought two years ago, that manages the security of devices such as laptops and handhelds – often referred to as “end points” of the network that need to be protected.

Tony Brockman, a former Sygate executive who now works as Symantec’s technical product marketing manager, said IT departments are soon going to have to deal with employees who go out to buy products such as Palm Treos on their lunch hour and expect to get access to the corporate network. The range of devices entering the enterprise is going to make security policies more challenging to enforce, he said.

“These are going to become a vector of attack,” he said, holding up a USB drive before the audience. “I see these left behind at airports all the time and I often wonder: what’s on that thing?”

Hamlet will address this challenge by incorporating several product lines that are still sold independently today, Brockman said. Besides Sygate, Symantec also gained some endpoint management through its US$830-million acquisition last month of Altiris, whose configuration management tools also offer features around device discovery.

“You’re going to see something that will offer a more holistic approach to security,” he said. “We know that you’re tired of point solutions.”

David Senf, a software analyst from Toronto-based research firm IDC Canada who presented at the Symantec event, also said enterprises were tired of tackling their security challenges in bits and pieces.

“They’ve been really bipolar about it,” he said. “They’re either buying suites or they’re doing it themselves.”

Symantec is counting on the suite approach as it focuses on five key areas, said vice-president of product marketing John Magee. These include IT operations, security management, information risk management and compliance. Endpoint security is emerging as a priority because the line between an enterprise device and a consumer device is blurring.

“People are the new perimeter,” he said. “It’s a lot more difficult to take the old lock-down-the-firewall approach. Wherever the user is, that’s where the security needs to be.”

Symantec also used the customer event to conduct a survey of its Canadian customers, the results of which will be made available for them to benchmark their own security practices versus those of their peers, execs said. The company is planning similar events later this year in Quebec, among other locations.

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