After announcing strong quarterly results last week, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem is offering some positive perspectives at this week's Symantec Partner Engage 2010 conference in Las Vegas. What type of company is Symantec, and how is the organization evolving for new opportunities that go beyond the cloud? Here are some clues from Salem himself.
At the conference, Salem unveiled a 'vision," where Symantec delivers a level of security and safety that would make your information, both business and personal, ubiquitous and worry-free. (Sort of ironic, since Trend Micro markets around the Worry-Free brand.)
"User-centric, not tech centric" expounded Salem "...[and] the device is irrelevant." Symantec's vision for the future was demoed with a picture-story detailing "Julie Richards," a modern-day business woman whose life is deeply integrated into her personal device (that looks like an iPad) which aggregates all her information, which of course, is secured by Symantec. The running theme is that IT is in the middle of people and information, and it's important to bring that together with as little abstraction as possible.
Unfortunately for Julie, her device breaks. She borrows her boss' device, logs in via Symantec's 'futuristic vision portal' (my words) and suddenly, her boss' device is loaded up with her own information, and a potential meeting presentation crisis is avoided. No data lost, and what's more, her systems' background image -- of her puppy -- is still there! (Aww.)
Talking With EnriqueDuring a breakout session with Salem, I asked him more details on how Symantec planned on achieving this vision, given the fact that Symantec really doesn't play in the hardware market. The answer to hardware agnosticism, was essentially platform agnosticism, by building this security and integration layer onto the existing device. The technical details of this layer or "agent" obviously weren't there, but instead, Salem detailed that they're offering a blueprint for the future and device integration.
So Salem detailed that you can call Symantec a company that focuses on "security and management of information and identities." This blogger thinks that Symantec -- vision or not -- is looking to become a security and storage backbone.
Now, that's the future of the cloud, but what about the cloud right now? Salem reinforced a statement he made last year, saying that roughly 15 percent of Symantec's annual revenues would come from the cloud within the next five years or so. Salem said Symantec will focus on providing software to partners, and partners will decide where to take it.
So far, most of Symantec's cloud messaging seems to involve security. But I'm wondering where cloud storage fits in. I asked about a potential cloud-based Backup Exec, and Salem noted that...
"It makes sense. We'll do it over time. [It's a] logical progression."Channel Chief Randy Cochran then chimed, noting that before anyone will want to start putting things in the cloud, with something like Backup Exec, they need to deduplicate data first, which is why deduplication was a field they were offering with storage specialization.
I'll be sharing more reports from Symantec Partner Engage 2010 throughout the week.
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