Symantec Changes Name Of The Game

To help resellers illustrate the importance of Information Integrity, Symantec, Cupertino, Calif., introduced a new Web-based sales consulting tool called Inform. The company said the tool, a free service that resellers can self-brand, should be available for general use early next year.

Adopting the new term is a way for Symantec and its channel partners to circumnavigate what Thompson called ineffective, industry buzzwords. It is also a way to bring together all of Symantec's products beneath a fresh, common theme that better resonates with C-level executives, Thompson said.

David Tan, CTO of Chips Computer Consulting, Lake Success, N.Y., said Symantec's semantic move was "a good way to repackage what has been just a process of inciting fear, uncertainty and doubt when it comes to selling security."

Symantec's Inform Web service is designed to help solution providers, as well as Symantec's direct-sales force, illustrate to customers the degree to which they could be impacted financially in the event of a security breech.

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Symantec is still putting the finishing touches on Inform, but as it stands now, the service is a wizard-driven checklist that lets customers describe what type of IT network they have, which industry they do business in, what types of security products are currently deployed and other data. Once all the data is in, Inform spits out a dollar figure that represents the cost of getting hit by a hacker attack, a lawsuit for noncompliance or other harsh scenarios. Customers will not be able to access Inform by themselves, the company said.

Abe Fisher, vice president of Setauket Computer Technology, South Jamesport, N.Y., said he was impressed by a demonstration of Inform's ability to illustrate the need for security. It will make it easier for Setauket, which services SMBs with networks as vast as many large enterprises, to illustrate the importance of security and compliance planning to clients. "Inform's a good deal for customers like ours," Fisher said.

Symantec this week also rolled out two products to support its security concept.

The first was version 6.1 of Symantec's Enterprise Security Manager policy compliance solution. The software can provide businesses with security-related compliance reporting features and preconfigured assessment templates for Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley requirements, said Randy Cochran, vice president of the Americas for Symantec.

The second was a new Symantec Gateway Security Appliance 400, a bundled appliance designed for remote offices that includes firewall, intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, antivirus policy enforcement, content filtering, VPN and gateway networking functionality, said Cochran.

With the new concept, industry observers say Symantec has sharpened its message concerning the importance of coupling IT and security with the overall business process.

"By framing its message in terms of painful challenges to business and the explicit hazards of anything less than completely accurate or accessible information, Symantec frames its message to the enterprise executive C-team, an audience they have not previously addressed in such direct terms," said Richard Ptak, founder of research firm Ptak, Noel and Associates.