Symantec today launched the Gateway Security 300 Series, its new range of hardware internet gateways aimed at small businesses.
According to Symantec, the low initial purchase cost and low ongoing costs of the 300 Series would be its main drawcards, with the entry-level 320 priced at US$549.
“IT security is not much of a priority,” said John Donovan, Symantec's managing director for Australia and New Zealand. “[SMBs] do not have that much money to spend.”
The product lineup includes the 320, 360 and 360R, and features firewall, intrusion detection, stateful packet inspection and content filtering. In addition to these capabilities, the 300 Series will include a policy to enforce the use of up-to-date virus definitions for Symantec's Enterprise and Corporate Edition anti-virus software.
A 2004 survey across a sample number of Australian SMBs showed that 95 percent of businesses had anti-virus software, but only 64 percent had a software firewall, and just 29 percent had a hardware-based firewall appliance.
Bread and Butter Research and Planning conducted the survey on behalf of Symantec.
“A lot of small business[es] may feel they are appropriately protected,” said Donovan. “Generally, [these businesses] do not have any fixed IT staff … they're actually responsible for their own security.”
The survey showed that 64 percent of businesses spent 10 percent or less of their IT budget on security, and of that, some 20 percent spent as little as 1 percent of their IT budget on security.
Symantec said that the 300 Series would remove much of the complexity that came with installing a hardware based security appliance.
“With its all-in-one functionality, Symantec Gateway Security 300 Series can be easily installed to provide a high-speed local area network … far better than a firewall-only device,” said Gregory Levine, director of product marketing for Symantec.
Furthermore, while other vendors charged ongoing licensing fees for similar features in their security appliances, Symantec said that it would charge no such fees.
Continual revenue for resellers would come in the form of the technical support package and licensing fees for Symantec's anti-virus software; the virus definition enforcement policy on the 300 Series was only compatible with Symantec's software. This did not include Symantec's Norton-branded security products.
The enforcement policy works by warning clients before they connect to the internet that their definitions are out of date, or, if so configured, block access entirely.
The 300 Series also supports wireless communications via a replaceable wireless connectivity card. At this time, it only supports the 802.11b and g standards, with plans in the future to add 802.11x, the company said.