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Frustrated Symantec Partners Seek Antivirus Alternatives

Symantec's enterprise antivirus software has performance issues that are causing some frustrated channel partners to consider other vendors' offerings.

Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition -- also a component of the vendor's Antivirus Enterprise Suite -- has been breaking applications, bogging down PC performance and slowing systems to a crawl, some solution providers told CRN.

"Our customers have been seeing a lot of Symantec antivirus-related problems, such as delaying applications unnecessarily, and it's reached the point where we're disabling it on many clients," said a Symantec partner who asked not to be named.

Another solution provider who has been selling Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition since 2000 said the software used to be "the best in the industry," and Symantec made it easy for channel partners to offer licensing and rollouts to small-business clients.

But starting with version 9.0, when Symantec expanded the feature set to combat spyware and malware, Antivirus Corporate Edition became bloated and memory-intensive, and it broke many line-of-business applications, said another Symantec channel partner.

"When a computer or server running Symantec gets hacked, we're running a full system scan with Symantec and not picking up the bug," said the partner, who requested anonymity.

"The frustrating part is that as their software becomes more intrusive and basically locks down the whole system, the hackers end up being able to get through your system faster than you can," the partner added.

Brian Foster, senior director of product management with Symantec's endpoint security group, said that from the perspective of protecting the desktop and the server, Symantec has added several features in the last couple of years, including antispyware, that increases the size of definitions.

"If the default configuration of the software is to include catching spyware, it's going to scan more because it's looking for more things," Foster said.

The real estate on that endpoint for providing protection is something customers and partners must measure, and there's a performance-security trade-off, Foster noted.

"We continually tweak and manage our software to use as few system resources as possible while also adding features to offer better protection," he said.

Version 11 of Antivirus Corporate Edition, scheduled for release in about six months, adds more protection, cuts the amount of disk space required and improves performance, Foster added.

Although some channel partners may not have the patience to wait six months for Symantec to improve its antivirus software, at least one VAR is willing to wait for the new release before switching to another vendor.

"I like Symantec, and they've been a good vendor partner in the past. I'm hoping it's simply a matter of [them] taking their eyes off what made them great, and the growing pains of trying to digest all of the new acquisitions," said the VAR, who asked not to be identified.

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