Symantec is preparing to launch an online security and backup service in Australia next month, which will directly compete with Microsoft's OneCare Live.
Norton 360 is a diverse security service that along with the usual firewall, antivirus and anti-spam products, also includes an automatic external backup system that is able to encrypt and send users' most valuable files to an external server for safe keeping. The first 2GB of storage is free but users will be able to purchase up to 25GB of space.
According to Matthew Drake, consumer, small business and distribution sales for Symantec ANZ, the tool is designed to automatically backup files without any interaction from the user.
"The product is smart enough to know that when you have new files the product will update that to the online service automatically. You just set it and forget it. Once you have done the automatic backup the first time, individual and incremental files will be updated automatically to the online service," Drake told ZDNet Australia in a telephone interview.
Another interesting feature is the PC Tuneup tool, which is designed to keep the users' hard drive optimised by defragmenting and deleting unnecessary files while the computer is not being used -- to minimise the affect on system performance while the computer is in use. This is obviously in reaction to Symantec often being criticised for creating products that are resource-hungry.
Michael Warrilow, MD of Sydney-based analyst firm company, Hydrasight, welcomes the move to improve the user experience and praises the automatic backup feature.
"There is an issue with backup amongst smaller businesses -- backup is important. Most consumers will also admit they don't have adequate backup facilities and putting backups encrypted and online is a good thing.
"So is the performance tuning. If you are going to inflict this performance hit by having a security suite you want to minimise the impact. Let's reduce the cost and performance hit for those that are willing to spend and invest on securing their PC, which unfortunately in the consumer space is still far too few," he added.