Symantec strengthens ties between storage and security

In the period following its merger with Veritas Software, Symantec Corp. is emphasizing the ties that bind e-mail security management with storage capabilities, but one user hopes the relationship will one day lead to simpler management across

the architecture.

The US$13.5-billion merger, which was announced late last year and closed in July, was supposed to be a marriage of security to storage. Veritas CEO Gary Bloom felt obliged at the company’s annual user conference this summer to address criticism from the financial community that the two firms don’t understand each other’s technology, and described the merger as “a straightforward deal that everyone seems to understand except Wall Street.”

In the same vein, Symantec said Tuesday that it can offer a complete E-mail Security and Availability Solution – a combination of Symantec and Veritas products that can secure e-mail from its receipt at the client level right through to its storage on the backend. The company isn’t announcing any new products but aims to point out the integration opportunities across the product sets.

“While all the pieces have existed before, I don’t think many customers have looked at it as: this is how I can implement my security and availability solution,” said Chris Miller, director of product management for Symantec. “They’ve never really looked at it in this broad way before. There are customers that are using e-mail security and some of them are using archiving, but they’re not aware of the cross benefits.”

Direct Media Inc., a marketing services company, uses Symantec Mail Security as well as Enterprise Vault to manage its e-mail, which runs on a Microsoft Exchange server environment. The company operates nine offices across the U.S. and one in Oakville, Ont., and manages its e-mail from its headquarters in Greenwich, Conn. The company has 250 users and its remote employees connect to the head office via a virtual private network (VPN) or through Citrix remote access.

The firm’s e-mail stores are used in part to hold clients’ marketing campaigns and information that could be useful for future campaigns. Kevin Ladd, director of infrastructure, said his firm will move up to Enterprise Vault 6.0 in the near future and is currently running an older version. While he said he’s satisfied with Symantec’s ability to effectively clean and filter e-mail, he’d like to be able to achieve better integration with the storage backend.

Symantec scans incoming mail to filter out malware or unwanted content but “it doesn’t go through and crawl into the Vault and make sure that everything that’s been in there previously (is OK),” he explained.

“One of the things that we could do is have it search through there with a new subset of rules and make absolutely sure that there are no malicious e-mails in there. . . . We can’t do that now. We hope to do that type of integration.”

The same holds true for filtering out unwanted words or phrases, he added. “If we’re going to set rules for inbound e-mail and we don’t want anything with the word ‘potato’ in it, we want to make sure there’s nothing with the word ‘potato’ in the Vault too. We want to be able to integrate across the two.”

This type of integration is a goal for Symantec, said Miller, and the company has been gearing up for a closer relationship between security and storage since the merger.

“One of the key drivers behind the merger was the view that it’s not about information security, it’s about information integrity,” he said. “It sounds a bit corny, but we want enable our customers to be fearless. The real security comes from knowing that if a problem occurs, your recovery can occur very, very rapidly for very low downtime.”

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