Symantec’s CEO has a user-centric security vision

LAS VEGAS – At this year’s Symantec Partner Engage conference, Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) president and CEO Enrique Salem outlined a corporate vision and strategy that focuses on a user-centric view of the security world.

Salem, in his role for the past 18 months after a promotion from Symantec COO, spoke to a group of more than 350 global channel partners about some of the key trends that are having an impact on the vendor’s business.

“The big trends that are affecting our business today are consumerization, IT-ification, mobile, social, virtualization, cloud, data growth and the threat landscape,” Salem said. “Consumers are demanding the use of a lot of new technologies in the business. When it comes to mobile, there’s expected to be 10 billion devices that are connected to the Internet by 2014, and the majority of them will be smart devices.”

Salem also said with the evolution of malicious attacks which are now geared toward a user’s behaviour and social engineering tactics, businesses and users need to find new ways to protect themselves.

“At Symantec, we want to take on a user-centric view of the world,” he said. “We don’t want to focus on point products. Instead, we need a new approach. We think everything revolves around people and information, with IT falling in the middle. As we go forward, let’s look at creating attributes such as where a person works, what role they have in the business and how long they’ve been with the company to create and enforce policies.”

Questions such as “what should and shouldn’t a person be able to access” and “what information should be kept and for how long” are important to consider in security strategies, Salem added. It’s not so much about the importance of the device. Instead, what really matters are the people and the information.

Some of the implications for the future include everything revolving around people and information, the idea that business and personal digital personas have merged, simple and secure access to information is expected and lastly, the enterprise is expected to be more scalable and cost effective.

Moving forward, Salem said there are five enablers that will help guide Symantec’s business: device security, information protection, context and relevance and cloud enablement. With several recent acquisitions already under its belt and the possibility of more, Salem said the company’s acquisition strategy will be influenced by these enablers.

Salem said for channel partners, these enablers are an opportunity to think about technology areas instead of focusing on point products.

“What I want you, the partner, to think about is how do we build a capability or solution for our customers,” Salem said. “Think about an offering that combines several things to offer a solution. We want to build a full set of capabilities for our offerings to make it more secure, more available and more cost effective.”

Bradley Brodkin, president of Toronto-based HighVail Systems, a Platinum Symantec partner named Symantec’s Canadian partner of the year, said with Symantec’s move toward a specialized partner-led model for services, he plans on growing his company both vertically and horizontally in breadth.

“Specializations are key to myself and my team and we’ll see how we can map our specializations with Symantec and our relationships with other vendors to take advantage of economies of scale,” Brodkin said. “Specializations will help us gain that stickiness and extra value with customers and the margins will come after that.”

In regards to its product portfolio, Salem said especially in the small to mid-size business (SMB) market, these users have the same consumer needs as larger companies do. Symantec’s answer to this is to help customers simplify their environments with products that are easy to install, implement and use.

During his keynote speech, Salem also touched on the possibility of Symantec being acquired. While he didn’t provide a definitive plan for what the future of the company will be, he did say this, “When will Symantec be acquired? All I can say at this point is that if we are, it’ll be the largest acquisition in software history.”

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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