Security company Symantec is out with a new Norton Small Business cybersecurity package. The firm said the subscription-based product is targeted at businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
Vice President Brian Burch said in a statement that the company's Internet Security Threat Report showed that small businesses were the target of nearly a third of all cyberattacks last year. He pointed out that "small business owners with fewer than 20 employees often wear multiple hats and don't have the time or resources to manage IT needs."
The newly released solution, Symantec said, provides always-on and a 100-percent virus removal assurance, with a money-back guarantee. The detection technology in this package depends on the behaviors of unknown files more than simply signature detection.
Free Phone Support
The package includes the company's Mobile Insight app-scanning technology plus remote locate, lock and wipe in case devices are lost or stolen. The package can also block calls and text messages from specific numbers, and can scan SD memory cards. Protection for iOS devices is more limited because of Apple's restrictions on software. For instance, inherent in Apple iOS is the ability to find devices that go missing.
The Norton Small Business package is intended for Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets.
Virus Removal Assurance provides free support via phone, compared to other Symantec small business products that charge per support call. Protection can be delivered to all intended devices via one e-mail that contains a link for downloading the Norton Small Business suite. A web-based management portal provides the ability to monitor and manage devices.
Symantec said the Norton Small Business product is the result of more than a year's development. It joins several other products that the company offers for small businesses, including the Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition. The new product is more geared to existing security risks, and has more of a focus on mobile devices and Macs.
The subscription licenses can be added or transferred for devices, and the list price for subscription is $99 annually for five devices, additional rates apply depending on the number of devices.
'Antivirus Is Now the Baseline'
IDC analyst Charles Kolodgy told us that "this sort of package is very good for small companies with 20 employees or less," since they don't have enough security or dedicated tech staff and are "low-hanging fruit for attackers."
He said, "The package allows for security across multiple devices, which are in wide use for small businesses because they are encouraging BOYD as a cost cutter and letting their employees enjoy the products they are happy with." Kolodgy said small businesses could find this product "very appealing because of the [phone support], simple licensing, multi-device [support], employee self-troubleshooting, and management portal."
Recently, Symantec attracted attention for comments made by its senior vice president for security, Brian Dye. He told The Wall Street Journal that antivirus protection is "dead," and added that the company doesn't "think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way."
The newspaper said that Dye is leading an internal effort at Symantec that will concentrate on finding viruses and minimizing the damage, rather than fighting a losing battle to keeping viruses out. Other security companies, the report said, are similarly emphasizing hiding confidential information or confusing hackers.
Roger Kay, an analyst with industry research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, told us that one factor in the lower commercial value of antivirus software is that Microsoft released its Security Essentials package for free, and antivirus is built into Windows 8. He also noted that "security companies share their [virus] signature database," so a competitive edge on that front is less likely.
"Antivirus is now the baseline," he said.