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Brief: Symantec-Juniper Partnership Makes Sense Amid New Rivals

Microsoft and Cisco are among those ramping up security capabilities.
With its rivals in the security market getting stronger, Symantec went looking for help. The No. 1 security software company will jointly develop and sell security-related hardware with network-equipment maker Juniper Networks. The move gives Symantec a strong ally in the emerging network-access control market that Cisco Systems and Microsoft want to dominate.


Symantec president and CEO John Thompson finds an ally.

Thompson finds an ally.
Symantec and Juniper will develop unified threat management appliances, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and access management and endpoint-compliance devices that control network access. Symantec considers such hardware a must, but "that is, candidly, not a ... forte of Symantec," says president and CEO John Thompson. Now, Juniper will supply the hardware, Symantec the security software.

The connection comes about a week after Cisco and Microsoft detailed how their Network Admission Control and Network Access Protection technologies will work together to test a device's security settings before allowing network access.

Cisco and Microsoft are formidable, but their NAC-NAP combo requires companies to use Windows Vista and Longhorn, which aren't yet available. So Symantec and Juniper have an opportunity to see near-term gains from their new friendship.