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October 4, 2011

Symantec unveils security ‘ozone’ layer for cloud infrastructures

O3 will extend internal security to the cloud

By Steve Evans

Symantec has unveiled a new security platform that it says will protect all enterprise cloud applications and infrastructures.

At its Vision event in Barcelona the firm said Symantec O3 will enable companies to extend their internal security policies out to both public and private cloud infrastructures.

While claiming that cloud computing is not inherently insecure Symantec does say that comprehensive security and compliance platforms are still "missing," and CEO Enrique Salem added that security is still the main worry for businesses when it comes to adopting cloud computing.

O3 – described by Francis deSouza, group president of enterprise products and services as like, "an ozone layer of security, sitting above the cloud infrastructure" – offers three primary core security layers.

First, deSouza explained, is the Access Control layer. This uses pre-existing enterprise identification and authentication policies to ensure that the right people have access to the cloud services. If an employee leaves the company their access will be automatically revoked.

Next up is the Information Protection layer. This uses Symantec’s data loss prevention (DLP) technology and its PGP encryption capabilities it acquired last year to automatically detect, block and encrypt confidential information before it is sent to the cloud.

The third layer is that of compliance and governance. This includes what Symantec calls a visibility layer which aggregates the cloud-related security events to enable auditing, the company said.

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Symantec O3 is currently in an early access beta programme and general availability is expected in 2012, with no more specific guidance given in terms of timings.

This year’s Symantec Vision event has seen the company make a big play in the cloud space. CEO Enrique Salem said it is the biggest change to hit IT in 30 years and is forcing IT departments to re-think how IT works.

He also said the firm will push ahead with acquisitions in the cloud space – along with mobility and virtualisation – and will be looking at deals valued between $750m and $1.25bn. Symantec has in fact been relatively quiet on the acquisition front recently. Its $390m deal for eDiscovery firm Clearwell in July is its only deal this year.

Salem also spoke about Intel’s acquisition of rival security firm McAfee, describing it as, "the best thing that could have happened to Symantec" as it left them leading the field on their own. He also said recent security acquisitions by the likes of IBM, HP and Dell validate the industry. "I’m glad they’ve woken up [to security]," he said. "They know it needs to be everywhere."

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