Symantec ponders using its accumulated knowledge

Email in vanguard of combined new product

As part of a re-examination of direction following the merger with Veritas, Symantec is considering the huge resource of data it now has — including digitally encoded information on the major sources of spam and on virus behaviour, mutation and prevalence over time.

This could be of significant use to IT managers and security specialists looking to take a more “proactive” approach to these problems, rather than waiting for the latest spam or virus signature update, says Symantec’s Asia–Pacific senior director, David Sykes. “But we have to figure out how best to provide it to them,” he says.

Sykes agrees, however, that a major change in strategy in the developing area of malware protection — for example, a focus on the behavioural characteristics of virus and spam creation and distribution, rather than its source or content — could diminish the value of Symantec’s knowledge stock in customers’ eyes.

Symantec’s security focus and Veritas’ emphasis on “availability”, particularly of storage, fit well together, Sykes says. The timetable for margining product streams, however, is still a little fuzzy. The companies see the first six months of joint operation as a period of ensuring product interoperability. Full product integration, with common user interface, install, online update and licensing, is scheduled for the following six months.

A third phase, designated as “months 12+” on Symantec’s product map, will see the evolution of “new information integrity management solutions based on shared technology”, “performance optimisation solutions” and “seamless” support infrastructure and licence management.

There are unlikely to be any redundancies in the region as a consequence of the merger, Sykes says. "We need all the people we have and probably more".

It's likely that the Veritas name will also survive. He points to the name and face of Peter Norton, still attached to Symantec utilities, as evidence that the company does not lightly discard a brand with respect in the marketplace.

Email will be an early area for emergence of combined product, Sykes says. Email is acknowledged as probably the biggest potential security leak in most ICT systems, and integrity and traceability of mail was a growing interest of Veritas, with its acquisition last year of mail archival specialist KVS.

Some of the new product can be expected to emerge in the Asia–Pacific region first, Sykes says, as it is a “mature” market with countries of a suitable scale to serve as test markets.

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