When Symantec (SYMC) delivered record Q3 results today, there were two news hooks for MSPmentor to consider. On the one hand: Wall Street is worried because Symantec forecast future sales that aren't all that impressive. But on the other hand: I was surprised to hear Symantec describe the strength of its managed security services business. Were MSPs listening to that chatter?
First, the dollars and cents: Symantec's year-over-year quarterly revenue rose 7 percent to $1.715 billion. And non-GAAP earnings per share jumped 20 percent -- beating most Wall Street expectations. Wall Street didn't celebrate, however, because Symantec's long-term growth forecast wasn't all that impressive.
Read between the lines: As more consumer and corporate IT spending shifts to smart phones and tablets, Symantec will need to build new mobile protection platforms that drive growth. The old bread-and-butter world of Windows protection may actually shrink over the long haul. The evidence: Microsoft concedes Windows sales declined 6 percent in its most recent quarter.
The MSP HookStill, Symantec's current earnings contained news for managed services providers. In a prepared statement, Symantec CFO James Beer said, "Our results were driven by strength in Data Loss Prevention, Authentication, Managed Security Services and Backup. Due to effective cross-selling of our industry leading portfolio, large deals hit an all time high.”
Symantec certainly sells security monitoring, security management, endpoint protection and intrusion prevention services directly to large enterprises. But don't forget: Symantec in November 2011 took some good steps forward, announcing pricing models and integration plans to work more closely with MSPs. Plus, Symantec has pushed Backup Exec -- it's storage and data-protection platform -- beyond the on-premises world. Yes, Backup Exec also lives in the cloud these days.
Symantec's commitment to MSPs seems to be growing. But competition looms around every corner. McAfee continues to have an extremely close following among MSPs and a strong relationship with Spam Soap, one of the top email security specialists in the MSP market. European upstarts like Maildistiller are making U.S. moves. Plus, Reflexion Networks remains in growth mode with its email security services for MSPs. And folks like Sophos have been adjusting their strategies to embrace MSPs as well.
Bottom line: Competition looms everywhere, but Symantec is crowing about its own managed security services momentum. We'll see if MSPs embrace the message.