Tenable vs Symantec for Continuous Security

Posted by UpGuard

Tenable vs. Symantec for Continuous Security

Effective cybersecurity these days is a complex and multifaceted affair involving a myriad of approaches: intrusion detection/prevention, vulnerability detection, malware mitigation, security configuration management (SCM), security information and event management (SIEM), patch management, file integrity monitoring (FIM), and more. For most organizations, however, the shortest path of least resistance means deploying a consolidated platform combining a multitude of these approaches. Tenable SecurityCenter Continuous View (CV) and Symantec Endpoint Protection are two such offerings.

A combination of these mechanisms—on top of traditional endpoint and perimeter security devices (e.g., firewalls, IDPS)—is necessary to fend off increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. That said, no panacea exists for cybercrime; in fact, leading IT security vendors have also come into the crosshairs of attackers as of late. Furthermore, all software is intrinsically prone to flaws and security gaps, even security products. Keep this in mind as we compare these two products—at the end of the day, firms most likely to rebound from inevitable data breaches are the ones that are most resilient—not necessarily those with the best/most security mechanisms in place.

Monitor your configs now


Most widely known for its free Nessus vulnerability scanner, Tenable and its flagship SecurityCenter CV are popular among enterprises for vulnerability management and security analytics.

Tenable's user interface.

The Tenable interface. Source: Tenable Network Security / YouTube.com.

Security events and data can be viewed and managed through the platform's pre-built, customizable dashboards and reports. Additionally, SecurityCenter CV offers continuous visibility, advanced analytics, real-time metrics, and continuous compliance, among others.


Symantec Endpoint Protection combines five layers of protection: network threat protection and a rule-based firewall, signature-based antivirus and advanced file heuristics, reputation scoring, AI-powered zero-day protection, and advanced persistent threats mitigation and malware removal—all managed through a single interface. 

The Symantec Endpoint Protection UI. Source: support.symantec.com.

The platform uses data gleaned from the monitoring, analyzing, and processing of more than 10 trillion security events per year worldwide—its so-called Global Intelligence Network (GIN). By using GIN to identify files to be scanned, Symantec Endpoint Protection eliminates and deduplicates superfluous jobs for smarter, faster protection.

Side-by-Side Scoring: Tenable vs. Symantec

1. Capability Set

Both SecurityCenter CV and Symantec Endpoint Protection combine several elements of protection into one security platform. Symantec's platform include strong features like malware removal and antivirus while Tenable SecurityCenter CV's Nessus vulnerability scanner and advanced security analytics are its strong points.

Capability Set

Tenable score_4.png
Symantec score_4.png

2. Ease of Use

Tenable SecurityCenter CV's HTML5 front-end feels patently modern and intuitive witlrh well-laid out navigation elements and dashboards. In contrast, Symantec's interface seems dated; despite this, the platform is nonetheless trivial to gain proficiency with.

Ease of Use

Tenable score_5.png
Symantec score_4.png

3. Community Support

Tenable's Nessus was previously an open source projectand is still a popular vulnerability scanners with a sizable community of supporters. Symantec also has a substantial base of community supporters, due in large part to its longstanding role as a leading global cybersecurity vendor.

Tenable score_5.png
Symantec score_5.png

4. Release Rate

Tenable SecurityCenter is on version 5.3.2 while its Nessus Vulnerability Scanner is currently at version 6.7, with both seeing releases and updates regularly. Interestingly, Symantec Endpoint Protection has been at version 12.1 since 2011.

Release Rate

Tenable score_760.png
Symantec score_570-2-1.png

5. Pricing and Support

Tenable SecurityCenter costs upwards of over $20,000 sans annual maintenance—not exactly a drop in the bucket for price-conscious organizations. Symantec Endpoint Security costs significantly less: ~$499 for up to 25 users. Enterprise pricing is available on request.

Both provide premium phone and web support, though Symantec's quality of support falls short. Tenable offers more customized onsite support options as well as a range of professional services to complement its flagship offering.

Pricing and Support

Tenable score_570-2-1.png


6. API and Extensibility

Like most modern software applications, Tenable SecurityCenter provides a REST API for custom integrations. Symantec Endpoint Protection comes with a set of limited public web service APIs for remote monitoring and management (RMM) applications.

API and Extensibility

Tenable score_570-2-1.png
Symantec score_570-2-1.png

7. 3rd Party Integrations

Tenable features a myriad of integrations with popular vendors like Cisco, Salesforce. and Airwatch, to name a few. In contrast, custom 3rd party integrations with Symantec are possible but limited.

3rd Party Integrations

Tenable score_570.png
Symantec score_570.png

8. Companies that Use It

Both Tenable and Symantec have sizable user bases and count many of the world's most recognizable global brands as their customers. In fact, Tenable has over one million users and over 20,000 enterprise customers worldwide: the U.S. Department of Defense, Deloitte, Visa, BMW, Adidas, and Microsoft, to name a few. Some of Symantec's marquee customers include Acer, ING, eBay, the City of London, and Carnegie Corporation.

Companies that Use It

Tenable score_570.png
Symantec score_570.png

9. Learning Curve

Both security platforms have relatively smooth learning curves; that said, Tenable's solution is more in line with the expectations of contemporary users.

Learning Curve

Tenable score_570.png
Symantec score_570.png


Scoreboard and Summary

  Tenable Symantec
Capability Set score_570.png score_570.png
Ease of Use score_570.png score_570.png
Community Support score_570.png score_570.png
Release Rate score_570.png score_570.png
Pricing and Support score_570.png score_570.png
API and Extensibility score_570.png score_570.png
3rd Party Integrations score_570.png score_570.png
Companies that Use It score_570.png score_570.png
Learning Curve score_570.png score_570.png
Total  4.6 out of 5  3.4 out of 5

You may have heard about Symantec's recent, sweeping fiasco involving the discovery of critical bugs across its product line. All in all, security flaws in 25 of its products, including various Norton-branded solutions and its flagship security platform Symantec Endpoint Protection were found to be vulnerable, putting millions at risk. Potential Symantec customers should certainly take this into consideration, as they could potentially fall victim to self-replicating attacks designed to sabotage their computers.

Bug/vulnerabilities aside, both Symantec Endpoint Security and Tenable SecurityCenter CV are popular options for continuous security. Tenable offers advanced security analytics and a popular battle-tested vulnerability scanner but its high price tag make it more of an enterprise-oriented solution. Symantec Endpoint Security's low cost translates to more individual and SMB customers, but it lacks attributes sophisticated users would expect from a modern software suite.

Get the Digital Resilience eBook

More Articles

Datadog vs. New Relic

Monitoring tools have come a long way since the early days of Big Brother. Today's solutions have evolved into powerful software troubleshooting and performance analytics platforms capable of deconstructing and analyzing the entire application stack—infrastructure up—for bugs and issues.



Cisco vs. FireEye for Continuous Security

Who provides better continuous security: the world's largest maker of networking equipment or the first cybersecurity firm certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?

Read Article >

AlienVault vs. Tenable for Continuous Security

As perimeter-based cyber protection falls to the wayside, a new breed of continuous security solutions are emerging that combine traditional endpoint protection with newer technologies like security information and event management (SIEM) and crowdsourced threat intelligence.

Read Article 




Topics: vulnerabilities, continuous security

UpGuard customers