Symantec: Late or Early to SaaS?
The VAR Guy thinks Symantec didn’t hear the first Software as a Service (SaaS) wake-up call. But the security and storage company is finally making some SaaS noise, and Wall Street is pleased to hear it. Here’s where Symantec could be heading next with SaaS and cloud computing.
Symantec CEO Enrique Salem this week told Wall Street that Symantec would make a more aggressive SaaS push in such areas as archiving, web security, endpoint management and data loss prevention, notes The Street.com.
Frankly, The VAR Guy has been waiting roughly two years for Symantec to get its SaaS act together. The reason: Symantec’s legacy in the storage and security markets should have provided a major springboard into the SaaS market — where security and storage are low-hanging fruit ripe for the taking.
From big players like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to start-ups like Intronis, the online storage land grab has been accelerating for several years. Meanwhile, security vendors like Trend Micro have been pushing hard with SaaS offerings.
To the casual observer, Symantec has been busy digesting multiple mergers and acquisitions. Heck, it seems like Symantec required half-a-decade to assimilate Veritas (acquired in mid-2005) into the company.
Plus, Symantec got bogged down fixing bloated on-premise products like the original Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 release.
Skeptics may wonder if Symantec missed the SaaS wave. But remember, it’s still early in SaaS industry. SaaS represented only 6 percent of the overall software market in 2007, though SaaS will grow to represent about 18 percent of software sales by 2013, Gartner estimates.
There’s still time for Symantec to get into the SaaS game, while adjusting its channel partner program along the way. To Symantec’s credit, the company has quietly built the Symantec Protection Network (SPN), a SaaS platform that initially supported cloud storage. But a long-awaited SPN security component has been missing in action.
Still, Symantec’s SPN strategy remains fuzzy to The VAR Guy. As of this writing, Symantec’s own SPN blog hasn’t been updated since February 2009. The silence has been deafening. Plus, it’s unclear to The VAR Guy if Symantec will built its own cloud, where ISVs could potentially write and deploy new applications that extend Symantec’s security and storage services.
Time for Symantec to get moving. The company largely missed the first SaaS wave — where Salesforce.com, NetSuite and now Amazon have emerged as market leaders.
But a second SaaS wave is coming — where traditional on-premise vendors like Microsoft, SAP and Symantec make a run at the market. Symantec CEO Enrique Salem is screaming “surf’s up.” Now he has to prove that Symantec and its partners are listening.