Symantec Partner Engage 2011: Refocus for the Megatrends
Symantec President and CEO Enrique Salem took the stage at Symantec Partner Engage 2011 to talk about a lot of things, but there was one singular uniting theme: It’s about rethinking — everything. Salem and the entire Symantec team are taking partners to task, asking them to how they plan to grow and rethink their solution strategy amid “megatrends.” Here’s what our resident blogger thought about all that …
Salem kicked off the keynote by telling partners they were once again responsible for the majority of Symantec’s business over the past year. He also noted Symantec now has more than 700 solution specializations. Both of those facts set the tone for the rest of his keynote. “We want partners to be experts. In areas where you can differentiate, [you can] make sure customers are successful,” he said.
What forces are pushing the need for these specializations? Consumerization of IT, which is both device- and social network-driven; increasing demand for more efficient IT infrastructure; and yet another “information explosion” are the primary drivers, he said. And again, all those factors require a ‘rethinking’ of traditional security solution avenues. It’s not about endpoint software anymore. People want to use Facebook, but “no one wants to get called out for their [security breaches],” said Salem. “The bad guys are pretty clever [and] we’re moving form espionage to sabotage” when it comes to security risks. And yup, you guessed it, these issues require a rethinking of traditional security solutions. In fact, Salem presented four ‘megatrends’ driving the changing mindframe of the security landscape.
- Mobility: Tablets have become ubiquitous — even Salem admitted his love for his iPad. But how does Symantec secure it? Symantec has begun to rethink the approach to mobile devices through identity-focused security.
- Virtualization: By 2014, 70 percent of all servers will be virtualized, Salem said. That will bring with it the necessity for a layer of protection, and naturally, will shape the security landscape. Partners need to approach virtualization from more than one protection angle.
- Storage: Almost self-explanatory, since we know storage is constantly growing, This year alone, there are more than 800,000 petabytes of data in the world, he said, and that kind of volume requires a rethinking of what deduplication, DLP and backup solutions are used and how customers consume them.
- The Cloud: “It’s more than a new name,” Salem said, referring to how oftentimes cloud becomes trivialized as a rebranding of hosted solutions. “[Cloud will] shift the role of IT over the next 10 years.” If IT needs shift, partners need to rethink what they’re putting (or aren’t putting) in customers’ data centers.
With the stage set, so to speak, to rethink and address those megatrend issues, what then, could the solutions be? Echoing his thoughts from last year, Salem said the heart of these solutions still would be about people and information by identifying the user, protecting the user and managing the endpoint. Naturally, it’s all leveraged using encryption, DLP and device management capabilities. But they’re all for naught if partners don’t specialize and differentiate by offering a blend of those solutions to their customers.
And after all the rhetoric, The VAR Guy was happy that Salem finally got down to business and discussed what exactly Symantec is offering. In terms of mobility, Salem pointed to the new DLP for tablets offering Symantec announced last week. And for virtualization, Salem pointed Application HA and V-Ray, which are “helping customers [with] granular control into apps in a virtual environment.” For storage, Symantec has a slew of backup solutions including NetBackup. Finally, for the cloud, Salem spoke about the Symantec.cloud portfolio. “It’s all [been rethought in a] information-centric approach. We have to help our customers simplify complex environments.”
But the true, distilled essence of the keynote came down to one (almost severely serious) thing: The future is in the hands of partners and the opportunity is theirs for the taking. Symantec has the tools, but partners have to elevate themselves and use those tools to get out there and attack those key areas. Salem said now is definitely the time to do it, because if partners didn’t rethink, they’ll be left behind.
Salem closed by offering up a startling figure: By 2015, there will be an estimated “… 15 billion smart devices connected to the internet. If you’ve got data continuing to grow at the rate it’s growing … how do partners [use] the skills they have [and] how do they change? The way we deliver services will [have to] go through a change, so new expertise will be needed.”