Symantec Corp. no longer believes antivirus products are effective — or even relevant — yet it’s making a bold promise to small businesses with 20 or fewer employees that use Norton Small Business that it will remove 100 percent of virus infections, or provide full refund.
According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, small businesses are among the most heavily affected targets of hacking and malware because they do not have the budget or technical resources to provide defense-in-depth against stealthy and sophisticated attacks.
Norton Small Business is more than antivirus software; it’s a package of antispam and phishing tools, as well as password management designed for conventional PCs and mobile devices including Android and Apple iOS. The package looks like most of the small business security suites offered by security software vendors, including McAfee, Kaspersky Lab ZAO and Trend Micro Inc.
The difference in the Norton Small Business approach, Symantec tells Channelnomics, is that it’s not repackaged consumer software; it’s business-grade security tailored for small business security needs. Additionally, it’s backed by Symantec’s professional services team, which can help remove viruses the software doesn’t catch.
“Norton Small Business leverages the proven multi-layer protection technologies of Norton, adding small business features to enhance ease of use and management, while helping small businesses make the most of their limited time and resources. No other security solution on the market today addresses the unique security concerns of small business owners by offering business-grade protection with a consumer-like experience,” Symantec officials said.
The money-back guarantee comes less than three weeks after Symantec declared antivirus software is no longer a moneymaker and increasingly ineffective. Symantec stands by that statement, believing security threats are too broad and sophisticated to rely on just one protective technology.
“Symantec’s point of view is that the era of AV-only is over. Companies need comprehensive attack prevention that integrates the full range of security technologies. Symantec led the first era of security with antivirus, and it continues to be an important part of our portfolio. AV is a baseline capability required for any endpoint protection product, but just one piece of our broader arsenal of advanced protection technologies that provide more comprehensive protection for the evolving threat landscape. AV is an important component of these solutions, but signature-based AV is not enough. Therefore we have built more robust technologies, including behavioral- and reputation-based technologies, to better protect our customers from today’s more sophisticated threats,” Symantec reps said to Channelnomics in a statement.
Money-back guarantees put reseller partners in a pinch, as they have the expense of selling and supporting the end user even when there’s no net sale or revenue. Symantec doesn’t believe that will be the case with Norton Small Business. With this program, Symantec will provide the support; it doesn’t anticipate many refunds.
“In the unlikely event that a customer that purchased Norton Small Business from a partner is infected by a virus on a protected computer, the customer would reach out to Norton whose experts would rectify the problem and remove the threat – or issue a refund if necessary. There is no additional risk to the partners,” Symantec reps said.
The Symantec 100 percent guarantee is full of loopholes. There’s no promise virus infections won’t happen or that Norton Small Business is flawless, just that Symantec will clean up any malware messes. And, small businesses with their limited skills and resources would have to know a viruses is on their systems to make a support call or claim a refund.
Symantec estimates more than 20 million U.S. small businesses could uses Norton Small Business, indicating it’s going after the very broad and shallow segment that buys in bundles through resellers or through retail outlets. In recent years, Symantec has seen its small business market share erode by competitors that have won over customers through price or product performance.
In the end, Norton Small Business shows antivirus is still important to Symantec, despite its protests.
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