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Security In 20 Minutes, Really

Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition lets solution providers enable small businesses to get the most out of their network security applications without the complexity in no time.

That's a fair enough aim. For small businesses to a) get the most out of a network security application and b) do so without needless amounts of complexity and hardware and networking requirements, that means keeping the overhead small and functionality robust. The industry has learned over time that security software works best when it's installed correctly and actually used. If you don't believe it, consider the problem that Microsoft created by making its User Account Control ridiculously aggravating for end users on Windows Vista. It became such a thorn in the side that users would either just disable it, or mindlessly click permissions on software just to get it done.

Well, the industry learns. And Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition is a nice example: Security is smart, well-tailored to small business, and easy to manage. And, yes, it takes about 20 minutes to install -- from start to finish -- so a small network can achieve nice security with minimal hassle.

Inside the CRN Test Center lab, we installed Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition on a server running Windows Server 2008 R2, dual Xeon E5430 CPUs and 8 GB of RAM. The server software installed and configured in about 16 minutes, with a few more minutes to build software for network clients. The software provides antivirus/antispyware protection, a desktop firewall, intrusion prevention and generic exploit blocking. (To achieve functionality for antispam, content filtering and antivirus for Mac, the next application up in the line card, Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition, provides that.)

The application also allows an administrator to easily configure and set e-mail alarm notifications for breaches and other system issues. Preconfigured reports and alerts can be set, and the management console provides a nice, graphical interface for security data metrics including risk distribution by source, risk distribution by attacker, and results from the software's TruScan Proactive Threat Scan, which examines applications on a system and rates them for "good and bad behaviors."

Pricing is an attractive point: A five-user pack license is $200; a 10-user pack is $363; a 25-user pack is listed at $714. Given the cost of acquisition, time of deployment, and features and functionality, Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition is a strong offering for enterprises with 10 or fewer clients. It won't fit for all small enterprises; in fact, many small businesses will simply need more to meet compliance needs and antispam will become a necessary issue to deal with on a network level with fewer and fewer users. But, as we've all seen, much of the battle is simply getting good security installed on a network, properly deployed, managed and, importantly, actually used. VARs with customers who do have fewer nodes on a network will want to keep Symantec's small business offering at the ready, especially for those who are as cost-averse as risk-averse.

Symantec's channel program is long-standing and robust, and company executives have told us they plan to engage the channel aggressively on this product -- further reason to give this offering consideration.

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