SideXSide: Symantec Endpoint Protection Vs. McAfee Total Protection

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 06-09-2011

Recent hacks into defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, Zeus malware riding in on faux LinkedIn messages, and recent data breaches at major organizations including Sony, Epislon, and the Massachussetts Unemployment Office may have you busily researching your security options.

When it comes to security in the enterprise, software and hardware solutions need to work together in order to maximize the chances of corporate data not seeping out into the wild. Chances are, you have several different hardware options in place to help secure your company's data, but which software solutions are you using?

Finding the right software solution in the security space isn't nearly as easy as it should be. And, considering there are so many solutions out there, even narrowing down your choices can prove to be extremely difficult. To help you out, we've focused this SideXSide comparison on two specific solutions -- Symantec's Endpoint Protection and McAfee's Total Protection. Our goal is to aid your decision-making process by giving you a one-stop resource to compare what these security platforms

SideXSide: Symantec Endpoint Protection Vs. McAfee Total Protection

Features

Symantec Endpoint Protection

McAfee Total Protection

Market focus

Enterprise

Enterprise

System requirements

Works on a number of platforms, including Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008. It also works on Windows XP Professional and all 64-bit versions of Microsoft's latest operating systems. Even better, the platform works on Mac OS X and Linux, including Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE Enterprise, and Novell Open Enterprise Server.

Available on a slew of platforms, including Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. On the server side, it's available to Windows 2003 Web edition, Enterprise server, Standard server, Advanced server with SP2 or higher, and Datacenter Server. The platform is also capable of running on XP Tablet PC. As an added bonus, it's available on Microsoft Exchange, as well.

AntiVirus and Spyware

One of the key feature is its anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. According to Symantec, the software features up-to-date virus and spyware definitions to catch issues quickly. In addition the company says it offers "rootkit protection [and a] reduced memory footprint." Symantec also says that its platform is capable of protecting employee computers from "zero-day attacks and mutating spyware." But, as with everything else, beware that fighting malware today is a difficult job, and no single piece of software will do the trick.

You'll find a wide-ranging suite of security services in McAfee's Total Protection. The company says that its anti-virus and anti-spyware tools are capable of closing the "protection gap and stop[ping] new malware in minutes." In addition, the company offers protection from malware through its "Global Threat Intelligence" offering, which examines threats around the world and implements fixes as quickly as possible. But, as with everything else, beware that fighting malware today is a difficult job, and no single piece of software will do the trick.

Network Security

Several network-security features are in place to ensure that employees who fail to follow corporate rules don't get themselves into too much trouble. The company's software offers a "rules-based firewall engine," as well as its "Generic Exploit Blocking" mechanism to stop malware before it gets to the user's computer. With an additional Network Access Control license, customers will have the ability to control access to the corporate network. The software also works with other tools currently in place to prevent network security issues from arising.

Arguably more robust than Symantec's option when it comes to network security. According to the company, its software is designed to prevent spam and any phishing attacks that might arise. In addition, it offers URL filtering to ensure your employees are only going to those sites that they're authorized to access. SiteAdvisor, another potentially useful tool, displays a warning to users when they enter a potentially malicious site, and blocks any pages that are known to contain malicious files.

Firewall Considerations

You'll find a firewall in Symantec Endpoint Protection. The company says that the offering will help you keep malware away from corporate computers and enhance your ability to keep malicious hackers out. However, be sure to compare Symantec's option to others, including the firewall built into Windows, to ensure you're employing the right solution.

McAfee's Total Protection includes a firewall, allowing you to protect employee computers before trouble erupts. The company says that its firewall is capable of blocking many threats before they break out. However, be sure to compare McAfee's option with others, including the firewall built into Windows, to ensure you're employing the right solution.

IT Staff Control

As with other enterprise-focused security solutions, Symantec Endpoint Protection boasts a central management function for you to establish policies and enforce them on employee computers. Symantec's console has a Web-based reporting mechanism for you to keep tabs on what's going on in your environment. Even better, if you have Network Access Control running, you'll be able to manage that option from the console, as well.

McAfee's Total Protection comes with a Web-based console that allows you to set policies and enforce them across your enterprise. The company's platform, dubbed ePolicy Orchestrator, also allows for you to check in on what's happening across your network to ensure your employees aren't trying to violate any policies. The Web-based component should make it easy to access and take advantage of while away from the office.

Time Considerations

Symantec's single-console system and full integration of different security tools leads the company to claim that it can help you safeguard data quickly and efficiently without wasting too much of your time. Company information doesn't say for sure how much time it would actually save users, but it does posit that -- when compared to using several different programs -- time is on your side.

McAfee is keenly aware of the finite amount of time you have. That's why the company is quick to tout the time savings that goes into its platform. In fact, it claims that a midsized enterprise will "spend less time on security management by using McAfee's centralized management console." It claims that ensuring security in your company will require just 15 minutes of management through its console each day.

TCO Considerations

Symantec is quick to point out a reduced total cost of ownership with its Endpoint Protection software. The company literature doesn't provide an exact figure, but its material does say that deploying its software to do all things is much cheaper than opting for several different platforms to take care of all the things that Endpoint Protection can handle.

McAfee's literature is quick to point out the potential savings of opting for Total Protection over another platform. The company claims that its service can save companies "up to 50 percent," thanks to "lower licensing fees and support costs." The company's figures are in comparison to costs associated with buying separate software programs to handle the many things Total Protection does.

Actual Windows Protection

Though it doesn't necessarily relate to Symantec's Endpoint Protection, it's important to keep in mind that protecting any Windows PC in your operation is extremely difficult. For one, no single software solution will be able to ensure safety. In fact, you'll likely need several platforms just to get close to maximizing your security. Beyond that, you'll need hardware protection and you'll want to train your employees about what they should and should not do when surfing the Web. Simply put, platforms like Symantec's Endpoint Protection can keep your employees safer, but they won't ensure absolute safety.

Though it doesn't necessarily relate to McAfee's Total Protection, it's important to keep in mind that protecting any Windows PC in your operation is extremely difficult. For one, no single software solution will be able to ensure safety. In fact, you'll likely need several platforms just to get close to maximizing your security. Beyond that, you'll need hardware protection and you'll want to train your employees about what they should and should not do when surfing the Web. Simply put, platforms like McAfee's Total Protection can keep your employees safer, but they won't ensure absolute safety.

Pricing

One-year, 5-license pack costs $270.90. A 25-license pack will set you back $1,092. Symantec has multi-year options, as well, to ensure you get the right price for the right solution.

McAfee requires at least 11 licenses with its Total Protection. That offer costs $1,538.46 in addition to $615.34 for an additional one year of maintenance. If you opt for 25 licenses, you'll pay $4,895 with a one-year additional maintenance plan included.

Source: CIO Insight based on vendor information, June 2011.