Symantec shifts focus to data security

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Symantec shifts focus to data security

Parnterships with Verisgn, Accenture to take deliver "Security 2.0".

Symantec is expanding its focus from securing devices to protecting information, the company said at an event in New York.

Dubbed 'Security 2.0', the new initiative will seek to restore consumer confidence in online transactions while allowing enterprises to further expand their online commerce initiatives without compromising their security.

The threat of traditional worms and viruses has largely been curbed, the company argued. Online criminals instead have shifted their focus to stealing confidential information.

Technological advances furthermore have changed security needs. Where traditionally it sufficed to lock down networks and devices, users today require access to their data from devices including mobile phones and notebook computers. The next level of security however requires partnerships between security providers in addition to new technology

"Security 2.0 is not about some killer app. It's more about how through a combination of technologies, services and partnerships, you deliver the capability that engenders a level of confidence that you have to have in this world," Symantec chief executive John Thompson said at the event.

"Today, we argue, people are the perimeter. And as such, we have to think about what security technologies, services and partnerships we create."

The vendor among things unveiled new partnerships with consulting firm Accenture as well as Verisign.

Symantec's security vision spans both consumer and enterprise products, Thompson said.

In the consumer space, Symantec plans to add identity services to its current security products by supporting the Verisign Identity Protection (VIP) authentication service. It effectively provides single sing-on capability to users of Symantec's Norton security products to services such as Paypal, Ebay and Yahoo. The security provider was unable to say which products will offer VIP support.

The vendor also unveiled the Norton Confidential Online Edition service. Prior to placing an order online, the service can scan the client's system for spyware and other malware. It also checks the website against a blacklist of known fraudulent services. A software version of the service was launched on Monday and is is marketed to consumer. The online edition targets ecommerce services such as online banks.

Symantec furthermore said is looking to create a technology that allows individual users to rate websites and stores, as well as individual users on social services. Although the service in part resembles McAfee's Siteadvisor, it is wider in its scope.

For the enterprise market Symantec unveiled three new security applications that aim to prevent data theft.

The new Database Security application monitors the data that users access. It then flags and possibly blocks abnormal behaviour. The software could prevent an attacker from pulling multiple credit card numbers from the database of an online store and is avaible as of today.

The forthcoming Mail Security Solution meanwhile promises to reduce the risk of data being leaked by company insiders. Slated for availability some time in November, the application scans outbound email messages for confidential information such as credit card information or social security numbers. It comes bundled with a set of 40 predefined filters.

The mail serivce will be expanded some time next year, when Symantec plans to launch an application dubbed Symantec Web Security. It offers essentially the same filtering functionality but does so for web traffic and FTP servers. The application among things aims to prevent confidential data from leaking through web based email clients such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail.

Symantec's security 2.0 products allow the company to stay ahead of Microsoft, noted Eric Ogren, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group.

Microsoft earlier this year launched its Windows Onecare security suite which competes with Symantec's anti virus software. Microsoft in the future also plans to launch a set of enterprise security products.

Ogren applauded the launch of the Norton Confidential Online Edition. Because the application will be sold to enterprises, it makes it easier to sell than the consumer version, Ogren argued.

"Few consumers will pay for it. It will be driven by the e-businesses and banks of the world," Ogren told
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