Symantec security, storage offerings now on Amazon’s EC2

Symantec to protect Amazon cloud computing services

Businesses looking at using Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for pay-as-you-go servers can now add Symantec security, backup and storage protection.

The Symantec anti-malware, back-up and storage management software will be available for subscription on an hourly pay-as-you-go basis through a menu on the Amazon EC2 site or through Symantec.

"The code base is the same as in our enterprise products," says John Magee, vice president of product marketing at Symantec. "It's the same management tools."

The cost for the Windows-based Symantec security software starts as low as 14 cents per hour, and charges will vary based on selections among Amazon's small, medium or large CPU pricing, with Amazon doing the billing.

FAQ: Cloud computing demystified

Magee points out that pay-as-you-go cloud-based services can provide businesses with servers and needed software on an immediate basis that might be suitable for various corporate projects, and costs might be less than acquiring and managing the servers by in-house staff.

In terms of management, the Amazon cloud is expected to provide a dashboard for the security and storage components of Symantec Endpoint Security and Veritas Storage Foundation Basic software that would provide information technology managers with the view they need to collect data and exert control over managed assets in the Amazon cloud.

While the Symantec security, back-up and storage is intended to better safeguard Amazon-provided servers for businesses using them, the cloud computing scenario could raise management, auditing and compliance issues for some, Magee acknowledges.

Organizations already using Symantec Endpoint Protection and Veritas Storage Foundation Basic internally will find that once they adopt it for use in the Amazon cloud, they will effectively have two management points. To consolidate information, a systems administrator would have to import data collected in the cloud to the in-house Symantec management console. This situation may change over time once there's more experience in this area, Magee says.

Another management question is how to resolve any technical issues that might arise involving Symantec software. It's expected that Amazon will be the first point of contact to handle questions, in close teaming with Symantec.

David Jordan, chief information security officer for the Arlington, Va. County government, which uses Symantec software in its enterprise, says he doesn't see these issues as insurmountable.

"My problem is not having the option for this at all," says Jordan, who adds that the "buffet" of Symantec security and back-up and storage software on Amazon "moves it closer to success."

"Would I go into the cloud without it? The answer is ‘no,'" says Jordan, who notes that his organization is still conducting assessments and evaluating risks associated with cloud computing.

Teaming with Amazon is the first time that Symantec has provided its security and storage software through another cloud service provider. But similar arrangements with other cloud service providers could occur in the future, Magee says. Symantec itself is a large cloud-service provider in storage.

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