Symantec woos IT messaging execs with integration pitch

Symantec Inc., this week will become the latest major software company looking for a toehold in enterprise messaging, not by releasing anything new but with a fine-tuned marketing pitch to IT executives that heralds the integration of the company's sundry products.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based security software maker has developed what it calls its E-mail Security and Availability solution, which packages various e-mail security technologies, such as antivirus and antispam software, plus clustering, backup, replication, archiving and compliance products. Symantec acquired some of these products when it bought Veritas Software earlier this year.

Symantec executives described a three-part strategy that involves integrating the various technologies. At some undetermined time in the next year the company will offer services to help IT executives roll the technologies together.

Beyond that point, Symantec will integrate some of the management consoles of the various technologies, said Carlin Wiegner, senior director of product delivery for e-mail security at Symantec, though there will be no single management console.

Most large IT shops already have a lot of these technologies in place, so the software or future services package will probably be best received by, say, a new Exchange Server environment. "For folks like us who have already made our investments, this may not make as much sense," said Brian Uzwiak, network services manager at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

What it can offer these companies, however, is the assertion that an enterprise might slowly be able to move to a single support for e-mail support and management. Symantec is presenting a portfolio of e-mail security and availability, backup, recovery and archiving. When you look at the entire cost of e-mail, it's the administration and the management that cost the most, not the product, said Mark Levitt, a research vice president at IDC, in Framingham, Mass.

Companies recognize that they may have purchased a product only a year ago, but at some point it might make sense to move to a single source.
Mark Levitt
IDC Analyst

"Companies recognize that they may have purchased a product only a year ago, but at some point it might make sense to move to a single source," he said. "Also, there is nothing wrong with having two or three [forms of] antispam or antivirus protection."

IT executives have struggled for years with a growing amount of e-mail to manage; it's a problem that is now compounded by regulatory compliance requirements, oceans of spam and various security challenges. Vendors like Symantec have it in their heads that they want to not only protect you but manage you as well, said Jack Gold, principal at J.Gold Associates, in Northborough, Mass.

"It's not a bad concept in theory," Gold said. "But the ultimate issue for Symantec is how [to] take all these pain points and integrate them into a single solution so the enterprise can deploy and eliminate those pain points?

"It does me no good to go to Symantec and buy a la carte," he added. "Another problem is that it does me no good if what Symantec gives me only works for e-mail. They have a map for where they want to go, and it does not include a universal console. That's a big deal."

Recently, Dell Inc. made a play in the messaging market although the server vendor's focus is in luring customers who need to migrate off of Exchange 5.5 and up to Exchange Server 2003. Dell, in Round Rock, Texas, put together pre-configured bundles of servers, Exchange software from Microsoft and storage tools from EMC Corp. Dell also offers professional services, training and support.

Microsoft is still somewhat behind in terms of its efforts to pull together similar integrated packages of e-mail software, storage and security products. The company acquired security software maker Frontbridge Technologies Inc. in July.

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