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Symantec customers stranded by renewals glitch

Anti-virus protection is so last century

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Updated Symantec's integration with Veritas in the UK has run into computer problems, leaving many Symantec customers unable to renew their corporate anti-virus licenses and large numbers of computers unprotected.

An adviser working for PCWorld Business' national licensing department told us the problem is widespread.

"It is affecting loads of our customers - from GPs right through to our government customers," he said.

He said he understood that Symantec shut down its computer systems for a refit - part of its integration with Veritas - but that there had been no backup made. Upon rebooting, he said, more problems surfaced, as well as a backlog of orders and all the new orders that were still coming in.

One GP told El Reg: "We are a small GP practice, with 12 Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition licences. On 6th October, without prior warning, my server notified me that these licences had expired. But, no problem, as there is a 60 day grace period, and just over 1 week later I ordered 12 renewal licences from my supplier PC World Business (PCWB).

"I am still waiting for delivery of these licences, and large and small companies apparently (according to a very fed up person in the licensing Dept at PCWB) throughout the country are also without both renewal and new Symantec licences."

He was told the same story about a computer upgrade putting a spanner in the works. He was told that the delay has been caused by "Symantec combining the workforces of Veritas and Symantec, and at the same time moving to a new integrated management platform to manage all of their customers".

"The latter appears not to be working," he added drily.

PCWB was keen to stress that it is a Symantec problem and is affecting customers of other resellers too. It also noted that Symantec does offer a 60 day grace period, which is being "widely used".

"Nine out of 10 customers get their renewals within the 60 days, but there are some who don't," he told us.

These customers are left without up to date virus protections.

Back to our GP: "My licence grace period expires in 4 days, and I will then be left without up-to-date anti-virus protection for my business. According to PCWB, several large NHS organisations are in a similar boat. This will clearly place computerised medical records at risk nationally."

Symantec sent us a statement about the GP's situation: "Symantec can confirm that the license certificate for this customer was issued on 27 November. Symantec apologises for any delay that might of occurred and is investigating what may have caused a problem in the customer receiving this renewal." ®

Update

Symantec has sent the additional statement about the wider problems it is experiencing.

"Symantec has identified an issue with a number of new license and maintenance renewal certificates not reaching some channel partners. We are completely focused on resolving this issue as soon as possible and anticipate that everyone still waiting for certificates will receive them by the end of this week.

"In the meantime we are working with channel partners to ensure that the impact on our customers is limited and we have put several processes in place to prevent any similar problems occurring again in the future.”

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