Symantec gets into SAAS

Symantec Corp. is inching its way to being a software-as-a-service (SAAS) provider with the introduction of Symantec Protection Network, which is a SAAS platform that is intended to deliver security and availability to the small and mid-sized businesses.

The company cautioned the market that this is just an initial SAAS beta offering and will only include online backup service for disaster recovery. This is a non-paid beta and pricing will be announced later on.

However, the plan is to take all of the company’s software and put it on this online platform including the new Altris assets over a period of time.

Symantec is also pledging affordability with this offering and Jeff Hausman, Symantec’s senior director of product management for the company, said the SAAS model provides cost savings, which means no capital outlay and less draw on internal IT resources.

“The vision for us is to better help SMBs who have limited resources and other challenges to getting protection. One way is by trying to find different models to get access to technology and whether they have limited budgets or expertise now they can get access to a software package (for online backup) and we are trying to meet that need,” he said.

Symantec is not disclosing which of its security or availability products will move onto a SAAS offering next, Hausman said.

“We have a great deal of customers in the consumer space, the SMB space and in the enterprise space and we found that there is a mix of ways people want their technology. We will use the traditional approach, the online services approach and another approach called Software Plus. The notion is to help customers and partners deliver any way they want. It is about customer choice,” he said.

Hausman admitted that the timing of this announcement had to do with the increased demand for online services in a SAAS model and that bandwidth performance has improved. Saugatuck research shows that 26 per cent of companies surveyed use at least one SAAS application in their business in 2007, up from just 11 per cent in 2006. By 2010, it forecasts as many as 65 per cent will be using at least one application.

“People now understand that they are able to run a business application as an online service and so why not other IT infrastructure,” he said.

Symantec is currently working with VARs and distributors on a model to bring more software onto this online platform in the form of an enablement program. This program will enable partners to offer customization services on top of the resale.

“Partners can customize and deliver a unique experience to them with admin capabilities for signing up customers and managing (them). If I am a reseller I can perform the back up, configure users and do restore leveraging Symantec but doing it as my own service,” he said.

Hausman added that Symantec’s Protection Network will be part of Ingram Micro’s Seismic offering that was released late last year.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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