Thursday, 11 August 2011

Symantec launching SSL management tool

In September, the company will launch a public beta of its management tool for channel partners who look after a large number of SSL Certificates 

A year after its acquisition of VeriSign, Symantec Corp.(NASDAQ: SYMC) is attempting to make the products simpler to manage for customers and channel partners.

 “The acquisition and integration have gone well,” said Fran Rosch, senior vice-president of authentication products with Symantec. The company has exceeded each of its quarterly targets since the deal was closed in August of last year.

Next month, Symantec will launch a certificate intelligence program for customers or channel partners to use to manage their various secure socket layer (SSL) certificates for enterprise customers. The program, which can be downloaded to the desktop, will be in public beta by mid-September and after a few months of trial, will be widely available.

Currently, channel partners who manage a large number of SSL Certificate are using spreadsheets or other very basic ways to keep track of certificates that may have expired or are about to, which creates a management nightmare, according to Rosch.

Some customers have built their own custom management tools, but this new program will be welcomed by partners, he said. There is no set pricing structure for the tool yet. The next phase, next year, will be finding a way to automate the certificate management process.

“It's also still a very competitive market,” Rosch said, which is why VeriSign began offering daily malware scans along with its SSL protection. “If we find any, we pull down the seal,” he added, so that the logo actually has strong meaning for security.

In October, Symantec will also be announcing its rebranding of the popular VeriSign checkmark under the Norton brand and after taking a few months for customers to get comfortable, the new checkmark logo will see broad use around April 2012. The combination of brands will be powerful against Symantec competitors as well, the company argues, and extensive consumer testing has shown that Web-users will still see comfort in the redesigned checkmark.

VeriSign technology has been especially useful for small and medium businesses, according to Rosch. “We have a very robust channel for those SMBs,” Rosch said. Hosting companies such as Toronto's Tucows Inc. have been using VeriSign technology as an add-on to its offerings. Other “VeriSign Resellers” include vendors who embed SSL into their products. “Solution providers who want to embed the best SSL become another channel partner for us,” he said.

In February, Symantec also announced a partnership with Intel to embed VeriSign identity protection technology into some of the chipmaker's processors. There are also very small security specialists who are finding opportunity with reselling VeriSign technology, he added.

In the past year, Symantec has also helped VeriSign to increase its market share in the strong authentication business, he said. Before the acquisition, there were only about 20 sales people worldwide trying to sell its cloud-based identity authentication solutions. Now, there are thousands on that sales force. Market share is increasing as well after therecent RSA SecurID breach made some enterprises look for new solutions.

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