Symantec CEO, Channel Chief Chat About Cloud Opportunities
At Symantec Partner Engage 2011, The VAR Guy spent time at a few roundtable discussions featuring some of Symantec’s top brass, CEO Enrique Salem and Channel Chief Randy Cochran. Here’s the scoop on their thoughts regarding everything from McAfee to mobile device management …
Our resident blogger kicked off the discussion by asking Salem about his bold statement in 2009 that in five years Symantec would be generating 15 percent of its revenues through SaaS and cloud and whether Symantec is still on track for that. “We’re on track and ahead [of track].” said Salem, noting there is a ton of opportunity for Symantec cloud services to grow, with currently $700 to $800 million coming in from enterprise services and more eventually trickling in from the SMB area. “We’re well on our way,” added Salem.
So is cloud-based revenue incremental or merely a slow replacement for past services? “It’s both [and] in some places, it’s close to one-to-one,” Salem said. “We’re able to reach more mid- and small businesses through our cloud-based services [so] we’re reaching customers we weren’t reaching before.” He expects even more adoption “when our channel is fully enabled to embrace our cloud based solutions.”
Perfect segue: With that in mind, will Symantec’s new O3 protection and DLP for tablets become a more meshed offering, eventually making its way to partners? Salem said while O3 isn’t yet available to partners (Symantec is still working with companies such as SalesForce.com to implement O3), the tablet DLP offering is a way to grow mobility services, which is on “everyone’s mind,” he said. Tablet DLP also could spur more IT admins to say “yes” to more social media productivity tools in the workplace, he added.
Salem also talked briefly about the future of mobile security and the meshing of cloud security services with mobile devices to enhance security. In the near future, if his BlackBerry puts him in Phoenix and someone tries to log in to the network as Enrique Salem in any location other than Phoenix, the network will consider the log-in attempt as a security risk and the operation can be blocked.
The VAR Guy thinks geolocation tools are smart, but they also can be somewhat Big Brother-esque.
And what of McAfee’s and Intel’s moves to push security on a chip instead of in software? “Silicon can be a great enabler for things,” Salem said, but “[Intel] is a silicon company, and it’s different than what you do in software.” Silicon-based protection could be fast and useful, but he argued software is much more flexible and ubiquitous. But The VAR Guy isn’t so sure about this — hardware is made flexible by firmware, which is often upgradeable and easily modified.
Cochran’s role as channel chief at Partner Engage may as well have been educational evangelist as well, because Cochran was aggressive in promoting Symantec’s educational opportunities including SymBrian and online skill modules. He noted partners can win big by specializing and teaming up with other Symantec partners to offer a complete sales solution. The VAR Guy was amused by Cochran’s explanation: “The cloud doesn’t come in a box. [Partners are asking,] ‘how do I build a business around these things?'” In that respect, Symantec may certainly have the right approach to the cloud. Comprehension is often seen as key to further implementation with partners and customers alike. Based on partner feedback, Symantec is offering classes so partners could take advantage of more of Symantec’s offerings in their own businesses.
Overall, Symantec’s message was consistent: the time of the cloud is upon us, and Symantec wants to take you there, one way or another.