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Symantec And Veritas CEOs Tout Benefits Of Merging Storage And Security Lines

The CEOs combine efforts to win shareholder backing and reassure wary customers. In an interview with InformationWeek, the executives explain how their product lines will work together to make life easier and safer for users.

Symantec Corp. CEO John Thompson and Veritas Software Corp. CEO Gary Bloom have some convincing to do. Following the December announcement of their plans for a $13.5 billion all-stock merger, the two CEOs must be persuasive on two fronts. First they must convince shareholders, who will vote in the next couple of months, to back the melding of the two companies into one storage and security management giant with estimated annual revenue of $5 billion. Then they need to convince customers of the greater value that lies ahead.

In an exclusive interview with InformationWeek, the duo explained the reasons behind the merger and shed some light on how the combined companies will benefit their customers.

The two CEOs say the combined product lines will help customers reduce security risks while increasing the availability of information. "The risks of losing data and security are creating enormous complexities and costs to the CIO," Bloom says.

The growing regulatory burden to archive massive amounts of E-mail coupled with the never-ending deluge of spam and virus attacks is one of the primary areas in which the two CEOs believe a combined company will be stronger than separate entities.

Customers will be able to turn to Symantec to manage the entire life cycle of their E-mail, from cleansing incoming E-mail of viruses and spam to storing, archiving, and retrieving E-mail. "What two companies are better suited for that?" Thompson says.

The combination of security software and storage applications will help companies move from reactive security technologies to more proactive defenses, Thompson says. He points to Symantec's DeepSight Threat Management System service, a collection of tens of thousands of sensors watching for attacks throughout the Internet, which, when coupled with Veritas' storage-management software, can help bolster customers' security. "When we see a network attack, [a company] can trigger more frequent backups using Veritas software. Or they can [automatically] change the setting on a server to minimize the risk of that attack," he says.

"The alternative will be to buy technologies from four or five vendors," Bloom says, which would include a mix of network/system-management vendors and a handful of startups focused on helping companies meet regulatory compliance.

But network- and system-management vendors, such as IBM's Tivoli unit, Computer Associates, and Hewlett-Packard, have all tried to sell similar multifaceted packages in the past with little success. "The framework vendors went to large customers and said, 'Buy all of this great software for system availability.' We are not making a promise of all or nothing," Thompson says. "We have proactive and reactive technologies that complement each other. And we're confident that if you use the technologies that we provide you can create a more resilient environment."

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