Symantec makes improvements to data management and protection offerings

Las Vegas – During its annual Vision conference this week, Symantec announced several changes to what could be considered the core of the enterprise's offerings.

With a focus on streamlining information management and protection, as well as increasing visibility between physical and virtual networks, the changes introduced to Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 (SEP 12), Enterprise Vault 10, and Protection Center 2.0, will offer IT teams across the globe a wider range of options.

In addition to announcing the changes to SEP 12, Symantec also officially opened product beta testing to the public this week. The private beta consisted of 450 organizations, and was mainly used to tweak the software before the masses got their hands on it. The initial testing started internally at Symantec, leading to nearly 10,000 deployments of the alpha and beta versions.

Public registration for beta testing started earlier this year, ending with a peak of 6,500 sign-ups. Of those who were pre-registered for testing, one-third of them were using a competing product, with an overwhelming majority from the SMB market.

The Tech Herald sat down this afternoon and spoke to Seth Shestack, associate director of information security for Temple University. Temple started the alpha version of SEP 12 several months ago. Once the beta was ready, Shestack said he observed “tremendous stability” improvements, along with the new features.

SEP 12 is the first major revamp of the endpoint protection suite in nearly three years. While the software's smaller footprint is sure to get the attention of some, the most significant change comes from the consumer market.

Symantec has bundled Insight 2.0 and Sonar 2.0 into SEP 12, two technologies that have existed in the Norton line for some time. Symantec wanted the two technologies to mature before they were included in the enterprise offering, but it also wanted to ensure that they would work well alongside the improvements developed for virtual deployments.

When speaking about the two additions to SEP 12, Shestack said that Insight was giving Temple tremendous performance gains, especially on virtual servers, where the ability to skip scanning the same file over and over is lowering the amount of wasted CPU cycles and bottlenecks. Sonar, on the other hand, means there is less to panic over when it comes to definition updates.

Overall, Shestack is impressed with what he's seen so far, but plans to test other deployment options later next week. We'll keep in touch with him and report on the testing.

Endpoint protection is a critical tool in Symantec's overall enterprise offering, but data storage and management are equally important. One of the major changes in Enterprise Vault 10 is the addition of DLP. The DLP inclusion allows organizations to prioritize the data they are storing, by leveraging DLP for straight data and email.

DLP can also be included with Social Media policies, allowing data from social media to be archived. This will allow flexible social media access, and offer organizations the chance to leverage the social Web and remain worry free when it comes to many of the associated risks. Another benefit to the DLP inclusion is the ability to target documents for e-discovery requests.

The classification engine that leverages the DLP technology will enable IT to sort mountains of data and select relevant documents faster. Another major change allows administrators to classify PGP encrypted items and store them as needed.

Finally, Symantec is releasing a revamped tool for business intelligence that will work as a single pane of glass for security personnel to view all of the relevant streams of data on their network.

Called Protection Center 2.0, the tool's improvements are mostly related to requests from existing customers. Leveraging data from the entire line of Symantec products, as well as several third-party offerings, Protection Center 2.0 “will offer a centralized view across the Symantec security portfolio and third-party products through three levels of integration - single sign-on, data collection and process automation.”

Existing customers will have the ability to get Protection Center 2.0 free of charge later this summer.

Visions runs through Thursday, and centers on training, peer sessions, and presentations from Symantec and its channel partners. We'll provide a wrap-up report later this week.

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