Security SEA Change

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is currently in the process of integrating technology from two strategic acquisitions,PowerQuest and On Technology,in an effort to bring to market its Secure Enterprise Administration (SEA) product suite, said Don Kleinschnitz, vice president of product delivery for Symantec's enterprise administration business unit. The suite enables Symantec's virus alert network to automatically trigger a multitiered, pre-emptive storage backup routine at a customer site.

SEA, which is slated to be released in 2005, will incorporate Symantec's virus-alert system to automatically set off a high-speed backup process should an attack on the network occur, rather than forcing IT administrators to manually protect the network via a data backup.

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Secure Enterprise Administration (SEA) will deliver multiple tools:

>> Virus alerts
>> Backup and recovery
>> Patch management>> Storage monitoring

Symantec is aiming SEA at the convergence market between network, storage and systems management, Kleinschnitz said.

Symantec's core competency,virus protection and security,will remain its top priority, he said. However, the imaging, provisioning and storage management functionality brought onboard from PowerQuest, coupled with the device management tools from On Technology, empower administrators to do far more with SEA than just perform backups that protect against viruses. Users can employ SEA as a tool for saving and applying complete system images to new client devices, managing PC and software license inventories, and performing routine client or server storage backups. Symantec is also aiming to speed patch management via SEA by eventually virtualizing the particular arrays where a patch is needed and reinstalling the patched image on the working array, he said.

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Symantec's entrance into the storage fray should strike fear in the hearts of traditional backup players such as Veritas and Quantum, said Bill Moore, business development manager at Tribridge, Tampa, Fla. "The backup competition absolutely has something to fear. Symantec has advanced the industry's whole vision for backup."


Symantec's Kleinschnitz: SEA allows more than performance backups.

The concept behind SEA is nothing new, but Symantec's acquired technology arsenal has tilted several competitive factors in its favor, said Dave Hall, CTO of CompuCom, a Symantec partner in Dallas. "There are a few competitors in this space, but they are missing pieces," Hall said, citing NetIQ as an example. But, he added, Computer Associates International is positioned to be a formidable competitor to Symantec in this space.

Alan Komet, channel manager at CA, agreed. CA's eTrust product employs in-house virus detection to trigger similar pre-emptive storage backup, he said.

However, Symantec still may hold the advantage when it comes to which vendor has the sharpest virus-alert system, said Richard Pressler, a network consultant at AllConnected, a Simi Valley, Calif.-based VAR and partner of both Symantec and CA. "If it came down to the fastest, most up-to-date virus alert, Symantec has it. CA has to rely on two virus engines, InoculateIT and Vet, which have a 12-hour time difference between them," he said.

Channel relations will be critical to the success of SEA, Kleinschnitz said. Symantec plans to leverage former PowerQuest channel partners to promote SEA, with more specific news regarding Symantec's channel strategy expected in early summer, he said.