Monday, August 20, 2007

Symantec Expands Small Business Services

The beta version of Symantec's Online Backup Service for small businesses -- part of the Symantec Protection Network -- will be introduced in the "near future," according to Symantec Senior Manager Mike Baldwin, who noted that the beta will be followed by other on-demand apps that make sense for Symantec to deliver in a SaaS format.

Symantec is planning to expand the offerings in its Symantec Protection Network, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that the company initially announced in April, with a beta version of its Online Backup Service.

The Symantec Protection Network will offer a smorgasbord of technologies that are based on the company's current enterprise offerings in what the company deems a cost-effective, easy-to-use delivery model aimed at protecting small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

"Small businesses have the same needs around security Relevant Products/Services, accessibility, information availability, and data protection as an enterprise organization might," said Symantec Senior Manager Mike Baldwin, "but without the wherewithal necessarily to staff up internally to handle those needs or to lay out large amounts of money for infrastructure Relevant Products/Services and equipment."

Beta Backup

Symantec's moves in the SMB Relevant Products/Services market are not solo. Google and Microsoft Relevant Products/Services have begun to capitalize on the opportunities to offer applications and services to smaller organizations over the Web. Symantec is rolling out the Online Backup Service to address what the company has said is one of the most immediate and pressing problems for small and midsize businesses today: disaster recovery.

Symantec is assuring smaller organizations that subscribe to the Online Backup Service that they will be able to expand their disaster-recovery capabilities and stay current with advancements in backup and recovery technology without costly migration or upgrade processes.

"Small and midsize businesses, like their enterprise counterparts, are facing new and significant challenges pertaining to data protection," Doug Chandler, program director at IDC, said in a statement. "Symantec Protection Network - Online Backup Service leverages the software-as-a-service model to offer sub-enterprise firms a more affordable way to get access to proven data protection technology."

What's Next?

The beta backup service will be introduced to the market in the "near future," Symantec's Baldwin said, to be followed by Symantec's current technologies that "make sense to deliver in a software-as-a-service format." Those technologies should begin to roll out throughout 2008.

Baldwin declined to disclose a specific roadmap, but he hinted at things to come by suggesting SMBs take a look at the areas where Symantec offers market-leading products. That would include technologies for desktop security, e-mail security, archiving, messaging hygiene, remote access, and remote support. "It's not going to be a single-service solution in any sense," Baldwin clarified. "It will be a full one-stop shop where SMBs can have these needs addressed as a service."

What of Google and its recent acquisitions that put it smack dab in Symantec territory? Google recently acquired Postini, a vendor that offers Internet-hosted security software for e-mail and messaging, for $625 million. Google also snapped up GreenBorder Technologies, a company that offers security features akin to Symantec's Norton line of software products.

Baldwin said he is confident that what the Symantec Protection Network is doing is different from any other security offering on the market. "We have experience, we have market know-how, we have relationships with customers and partners," he said. "By leveraging all that and simply going to a service-based format with an integrated solution, we are going to be quite different from anything else that's out there right now."