Symantec Adds New 'Insight' To Endpoint Security Play At RSA


Symantec broke out the big guns at RSA Conference this year with the launch of Endpoint Protection 12, the latest version of its endpoint security product that the security mainstay says will ensure it maintains its No. 1 spot in the market.

Endpoint Protection 12 comes as companies and the channel battle new threat vectors like social engineering, spam, search engine poisoning and a host of other emerging threats. It also comes at a time when companies' virtualization initiatives are kicking into high gear, creating a new need for tighter security on the desktop.

"The problem we are trying to address here is today is we have so many viruses it seems almost impossible keep up with them," said CJ Desai, vice president of engineering at Symantec. "Signature-based scanning just will not keep up."

Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 targets a host of enterprise endpoint security needs, including malware protection, personal firewall, intrusion prevention, device control, application control and access control. Version 12 adds new features including Insight, which offers context- and reputation-based proactive protection against new threats using community-based security ratings derived from more than 175 million endpoints. Insight puts files in context using their age, frequency, location and more to expose threats that may have gone unnoticed.

While Insight has been available in Symantec's consumer portfolio, Endpoint Protection 12 marks the first time it's in the enterprise product. Essentially, when a user downloads a file, insight examines it and determines its level of safety, Desai said.

Endpoint Protection 12 also adds SONAR, a behavioral reputation-based engine that monitors and processes threats as they execute and monitors 400 different application behaviors.

Desai said for VARs and partners that manage desktops, the addition of Insight can help them shape their customers' security policies and help determine what types of files to allow. Insight currently leverages a database of 2.5 billion files and is growing by 20 million to 30 million per day.

Along with Endpoint Protection 12, Symantec at RSA also launched Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 12.1, which also includes Insight and SONAR.

"There are really two different products here," said Randy Cochran, Symantec's channel chief. "I see both camps of partners doing this. IT's leaps and bounds ahead of anything else that is out there today."

Cochran said Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 gives partners the ability to work one-on-one with their customers to determine a plan of action around endpoint security and security policy. Since Endpoint Security 12 doesn't just block threats, but lets partners and customers determine what to allow as well, it gives partners a new trusted advisor role.

Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 is currently in a private beta and will open up to public beta next month. The product is expected to be generally available come summer.