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Endpoint security: Is the future in software suites?

Symantec, McAfee others push suites over stand-alone products

By , Network World
February 09, 2009 12:06 AM ET

Network World - Is corporate endpoint security turning into a "suite" spot?

The market's top two players, Symantec and McAfee, continue to win about 40% of the highly fragmented corporate endpoint security market, now at about $3 billion, while distant third Trend Micro at about 6% suddenly finds itself neck-and-neck with Sophos, the antimalware vendor that acquired endpoint encryption firm Utimaco late last year.  

But the race to win the corporate customer is shifting from stand-alone antivirus-style products to burgeoning software suites that combine antimalware, network access control, and now systems management.  (Read about NAC challenges facing security software suite vendors.)

Though dozens of competing vendors craft products for specific security and systems management functions — and many IT managers strongly argue they prefer it that way and fret about vendor lock-in — there's some cause to think the future may be dominated by endpoint suites.

"The trend for endpoint is primarily that it has been moving to suite solutions," says IDC security analyst Charles Kolodgy. "There's a move to incorporate much more than security into the endpoint suites — configuration control, patch management and other systems management capabilities."

IDC research for the corporate market shows stand-alone antimalware sales stalled in 2007, dropped to $1.14 billion last year and is expected to fall to $1.05 billion this year. But the category IDC calls "security suites" is quickly rising, from $637.7 million in 2007 to a predicted $1.21 billion this year.

While Symantec and McAfee already have their own systems management software — Symantec acquired Altiris and McAfee has McAfee Remediation Manager — to integrate into the endpoint agent, Trend Micro last month elected to team with a partner, somewhat as it has done with Third Brigade on host intrusion detection.

Trend Micro is joining forces with BigFix to come up with the Endpoint Security Platform — based on the BigFix management console that Trend Micro will offer under its own brand.

"BigFix has best-of-breed client patch management and security configuration; we have antivirus and Web protection," says Ron Clarkson, Trend Micro's director of enterprise endpoint security." The company views the alliance as strategically important to compete with McAfee and Symantec in the larger corporate market.

Trend Micro's Endpoint Security Platform is expected out later this quarter, along with a new version of its long-running OfficeScan that will be able to integrate systems management capabilities.

Symantec's souped-up suite in this race is Symantec Endpoint Protection, and McAfee's is Total Protection for Endpoint Advanced.

The appeal in the security suites is a single code base and smaller footprint than having five or six separate software agents, common management, plus somewhat lower cost, Kolodgy says.

According to McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt, the cost-saving is "at least 30%" in buying the integrated endpoint suite vs. McAfee's separate software products. DeWalt says a third of McAfee's installed base in the enterprise market has shifted to the Total Protection suite, with the various security and systems management functions supported by McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator management console.

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