Symantec moves to boost endpoint security
- By Rutrell Yasin
- Aug 17, 2005
Symantec officials hope to deliver a stronger suite of endpoint security solutions by acquiring Sygate Technologies.
Company officials announced plans Tuesday to buy Sygate, a provider of endpoint compliance solutions. Endpoint security technology ensures that all devices connected to a network – desktops, laptops, servers, and mobile devices – are running the appropriate security solutions, are configured correctly, and possess up-to-date patches.
Sygate’s Universal Network Access Control technology will complement Symantec’s presence on the endpoint to create a holistic product suite that addresses the security, compliance, and remediation requirements of large enterprises, Symantec officials said. The acquisition is expected to close shortly after receiving customary regulatory approvals.
Symantec’s move shows that company officials are taking other industry efforts to strengthen endpoint security seriously, such as Cisco’s Network Admission Control (NAC) initiative, said Pete Lindstrom, director of research at Spire Security, a Malvern, Pa.-based consulting company.
To protect against cyberthreats, NAC uses the network infrastructure to enforce endpoint security policies on all devices seeking to access network resources. To achieve this goal, Cisco shares its network technology with approved program participants such as independent software developers.
But the NAC initiative is still being fleshed out, while Sygate already has a strong link between the network and endpoint, Lindstrom said.
“Symantec didn’t have a solution to tie the two together,” he said.
Sygate technology can interrogate an endpoint system that attempts to access the network even if there is no agent software on the device, Lindstrom added. The company offers ActiveX-based agent software that can be downloaded to quickly scan a device, which is very useful for enterprises with large global networks, he added.
Sygate On-Demand Agent (SODA) provides a small lightweight agent that can be downloaded via Secure Sockets Layer and portal connections. This agent ensures that endpoints that are not company-owned or managed in compliance with corporate security policies and that the transaction data itself is secure.
“It is critical to have an endpoint compliance solution that will allow companies to leverage their existing IT infrastructure to control the myriad devices connecting to the network,” said Enrique Salem, senior vice president, Security Products and Solutions at Symantec, in a prepared statement.
“Sygate provides the first universal network access control system designed to protect the entire enterprise network – from mobile devices to servers to unmanaged devices,” Salem said. “The fact that their technology is built on industry standards means that companies don’t have to implement expensive infrastructure changes to deploy this solution.”
There is some overlap between the two companies in the area of host-based intrusion protection, which might cause some confusion to users in the short term, Lindstrom said. However, Sygate also offers added protection against insider threats such as an employee leaving a company and copying information to a USB key, he added.
Upon close of the deal, Symantec AntiVirus and Symantec Client Security users will be able to license and deploy Sygate's Network Access Control (SNAC) agent to provide endpoint compliance on top of the protection they already receive. Symantec will integrate its remediation capabilities like LiveUpdate and LiveState Patch Manager and its data availability solutions into a more comprehensive endpoint compliance solution, Symantec officials said.
Sygate officials recently announced Sygate Enterprise Protection (SEP) 5.0, which provides broad protection and control in a single agent and under simplified management. Symantec expects to leverage and integrate these technologies with its existing endpoint protection products. Until that integration occurs, SEP 5.0 will be offered alongside Symantec's other endpoint security solutions.