Revamped Symantec security client due next year

Symantec plans to release new enterprise client security software next year, code-named Hamlet.

Symantec is readying a new application for enterprise PCs that will integrate security and network policy enforcement technology the company picked up from recent acquisitions.

The new client software, code-named Hamlet, will have antivirus and firewall capabilities, like Symantec's Client Security and AntiVirus Corporate Edition products. It will also include behavior-based, malware-blocking technology, acquired via Symantec's 2005 purchase of WholeSecurity, as well as software that came via last year's Sygate acquisition.

Hamlet is not expected to ship until 2007, said Symantec Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Thompson, who discussed the new product Wednesday at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Francisco.

"Sometime in January-to-March timeframe we will deliver the Hamlet project, which is a fully integrated new client," he said.

Pricing has not yet been determined, Thompson said.

Symantec's software has traditionally used a kind of digital fingerprint, called a signature, in order to determine whether or not a program is malicious. The WholeSecurity "behavior-based" technology, on the other hand, decides whether or not the application is bad based on the kind of things it's trying to do.

The Sygate software makes sure that PCs and laptops that connect to corporate networks have appropriate security software installed.

It will take a major engineering effort for Symantec to build both the integrated client and the console software used to manage the product, said Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald.

The product will mean changes for customers as well, he added. "This is a big change for the Symantec users because Symantec is changing out their enterprise console."

Delivering a product that integrates the WholeSecurity and Sygate technologies in a useful way would help restore credibility to Symantec, which has had a hard time selling customers on its $10.2 billion Veritas Software acquisition.

On Wednesday, Thompson acknowledged that his company has had problems explaining why the Veritas purchase made sense. "I think early on we spent too much time talking about the what, and not the why," he said. "We should have talked about... the problem we're trying to address with this new identity.'"

Symantec also should have integrated the two companies more quickly, Thompson said. "In retrospect, we probably could have pushed a little bit harder to integrate a little bit faster," he said. "That might have shaken out some of the executive departures a little bit earlier."

Former Veritas CEO Gary Bloom left Symantec in January, after serving as Symantec's president for about six months. His departure sparked a major shakeup within the company.

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