Symantec’s cloud strategy may mean channel challenges

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) yesterday announced the availability of its Norton Online Backup Web service for consumers. According to one analyst, this means the Symantec channel will now have to find more innovative ways to bring Symantec solutions to market.

The company already has Norton Online Backup for businesses, but yesterday’s release marks Norton’s first Web-based consumer offering, Rowan Trollope, senior vice-president of consumer products at Symantec said. Norton’s Online Backup Web service also offers users anti-virus software protection with the Norton 360 product. The new cloud-based storage service offering is designed for use in the home with up to five PCs.

Norton Online Backup offers users 25GB of online storage at a suggested retail price of just US$49.99 a year and can be purchased through the Symantec online store. Additional storage space can also be purchased for those who need it in increments of 10, 25, 50 and 100GB, Trollope added.

Michelle Warren, president of Toronto-based MW Research & Consulting, says now that Symantec is making this cloud-based storage offering available for purchase through the Web, the retail channel may find it more difficult to sell boxes in stores.

“Retail partners will have to look at more innovative ways to get products into the store because shelf space is expensive,” Warren said. “I expect big box stores will have to start looking for new things to sell too. I think moving things to the cloud is a good move for Symantec though, because many IT companies are doing this. It’s also more of a convenience (purchasing through the Web), so it can also become more of an impulse purchase too.”

The new online service helps consumers protect their files against data loss, damage and other disasters and also allows for quick access to and the ability to restore files that may have been lost or deleted.

Trollope says in order to use the Norton Online Backup Web service, a small desktop agent must first be downloaded to manage a backup of the PC. Once that’s done, users can manage, access and restore all of their backed-up files from their home PC using any Web browser. All of the files that are stored online are automatically stored as copies and are backed-up as encrypted files to separate and professionally-managed servers that are hosted by Symantec.

“Our value proposition is that we have trained IT professionals who can do a better job than what the average consumer would be able to do to keep their data safe,” he said. “We get all of the files off of (the consumer’s PC) and it’s backed up and stored in the cloud, and the customer is the only one who can access these files.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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