Joe Panettieri, Former Editorial Director

October 11, 2006

2 Min Read
Symantec Grows Up

Instead of competing head-on with Microsoft in the PC security market, Symantec is changing the rules of the game.

During a nearly three-hour executive summit in Manhattan on Tuesday, Symantec CEO John Thompson and other company officials rolled out a comprehensive Security 2.0 strategy. The VAR Guy was impressed with what Symantec said. And even more impressed with what Symantec didn’t say.

Not once during the event did Symantec mention Windows Vista and Microsoft’s entry into the security market. Moreover, not once did Symantec mention its Veritas acquisition. Smart moves. Symantec presented itself as a single, unified company focused on protecting people and information. Some key takeaways include:

Leadership: Thompson, of course, is an IBM veteran who understands e-business and enterprise computing. He thinks big. Really big. By sharing the stage with Accenture, VeriSign and TD Ameritrade, Thompson shows that Symantec is growing up and thinking global. The Security 2.0 initiative, Thompson says, is about integrating software, services and partnerships to protect customers’ most important assets–their information–and their interactions. It’s about delivering trust to consumers who might otherwise not use online services.

Innovation: Critics believe Symantec acquires technology but doesn’t innovate on its own. Several demonstrations on Tuesday showed how forthcoming Symantec tools will mitigate the risk of confidential information being stolen from databases and e-mail systems.

Partnerships: Symantec delivered an impressive day that lifted the company’s stock, but several challenges remain. First, there are big holes in Symantec’s partnership strategy. The biggest involves Cisco Systems. Although they increasingly compete, Symantec and Cisco are the two most trusted IT security brands; they need to partner for the good of customers.

The Channel: There was little to no mention of the channel during the event. Don’t panic. VARs remain critical to Symantec’s success. Some Symantec partners may worry about competing with Accenture. But it’s a safe bet that most of Accenture’s security work will focus on Wall Street and big financial services firms.

Next Moves: Symantec needs to transform the Security 2.0 vision into real-world solutions. Fast. The company demonstrated many of those forthcoming solutions during the event. But The VAR Guy wants to hear more from TD Ameritrade and other Symantec customers who are beta testing the offerings.

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About the Author(s)

Joe Panettieri

Former Editorial Director, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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