Symantec Prepares For Shift To 'Security 2.0'

Symantec will venture into the areas of system availability and performance management, CTO Mark Bregman says.
As businesses evolve to rely more on the Web, the idea of "security" is fast giving way to "protection" in the eyes of Symantec Corp. The company is embarking on a new strategy for helping businesses counter threats to their data and systems, while at the same time making systems available and easy to use for employees and customers, says Symantec CTO Mark Bregman.

Calling this new tact Security 2.0, Symantec will expand beyond its security products to deliver, or partner to deliver, technology that aids with regulatory compliance, the availability of systems and data, and performance management, Bregman said Wednesday at the Interop conference. More details are expected during an unveiling of Security 2.0 in October.

The strategy also calls for delivering enterprise-quality protection to consumers, including Internet parental control tools and data controls that dictate how personal information is collected and used, Bregman says. At the same time, Symantec wants to help businesses to be more careful about whom they let connect to their networks, the underlying principle of the emerging market for network-access control technology.

Yet as Symantec expands into new areas, and other high-profile vendors like Microsoft and Cisco expand their security offerings, the company could face unprecedented competition. Symantec's security experience and its applicability across different technologies gives it the edge. While Microsoft is addressing security at the operating-system level and Cisco is taking on network security, threats such as fraud, phishing, and identity theft cross multiple technology areas, requiring security providers who play across the spectrum of an IT infrastructure, Bregman says. "I think we are ahead, and that others are chasing us," he adds.

Symantec claims to welcome other vendors to the security space. "If Microsoft creates more awareness of security, the market grows," Bregman says. Of course, this could be a problem for Symantec if Microsoft is able to grow its security market share faster than the market expands.

To prepare itself for Security 2.0, Symantec has tried to shed itself of business areas that would hinder its growth. The company last week announced it's teaming with Juniper Networks to build unified threat-management appliances, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and access-management and endpoint-compliance devices based on Juniper hardware and Symantec software. The move gives Symantec a strong ally in the emerging network-access control market that Cisco and Microsoft are looking to dominate, not to mention the ability to continue divesting itself of its hardware business without leaving customers in the lurch. "We need to understand all of the risks" that customers face, "although we don't have to provide a Symantec-branded solution," Bregman says.

This sentiment was also evident in Symantec's announcement Wednesday with Dell to help midsize businesses get control of their e-mail systems through a new offering called Secure Exchange. Secure Exchange's hardware component consists of Dell PowerEdge servers, PowerVault storage, and Dell/EMC storage, as well as the Symantec Mail Security 8200 Series appliance. On the software side, Secure Exchange includes Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange, Symantec Enterprise Vault, and Backup Exec, which the company inherited when it bought Veritas Software. Dell will provide the assessment, design, implementation, and training services.

The companies are positioning Secure Exchange as an industry-standard reference architecture that provides a step-by-step blueprint for businesses with 500 to 2,000 users to simplify data security, backup, recovery and archiving. Starting price for a 500-seat Secure Exchange implementation with hardware, software, and services, is $60,780 and includes Dell PowerEdge 1950s, PowerVault 112T, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and Symantec Backup Exec.

Although partnerships will play an important role in Symantec's future, the company still spends about 15% of its annual revenue on research and development, Bregman says. A lot of this R&D will be devoted to finding new ways for companies to automate the delivery of security rather than throwing more people and money at the problem.

Symantec leads the security software market, accounting for more than 32% of the $7.4 billion worldwide revenue last year. In the antivirus segment, Symantec sales accounted for almost 54% of the market, according to Gartner. Overall security software sales were up from $6.4 billion in 2004. A distant second in the market was McAfee with a share of more than 12%, followed by Trend Micro, 8.5%; CA, nearly 6%; and IBM, 4%.