Posted: 3 Min ReadExpert Perspectives

Symantec Is Making All The Right Moves for Customers

A reality check in the age of disinformation

Mark Twain’s famous quote, "the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” may be the best retort yet to the rampant rumor mongering and attacks being leveled at Symantec since it was acquired by Broadcom last year.

The latest missive was a recent op-ed by author Richard Stiennon on the Forbes web site entitled, “The Demise of Symantec.” The piece, which essentially lifts a chapter from the author’s recent publication, Security Yearbook 2020, is chock full of hearsay and grounded very little in the reality of how this long-time Symantec partner sees the current enterprise security landscape. Here at Infolock, we think Stiennon is doing a disservice to current and potential Symantec customers by oversimplifying the situation. We felt it was important to rebut some of the claims and put to rest assumptions about recent moves at Symantec that only serve to create confusion in the market when things are already overly complex and far too confusing.

One of the most jarring claims Mr. Stiennon and others make is that the acquisition of Symantec by Broadcom spells the end of an era for Symantec as the preeminent security behemoth. We don’t quite understand the logic here. Leading brands get acquired all the time for various reasons—think CVS’ recent acquisition of Aetna, Dell buying EMC, and Fiat and Chrysler merging into an automotive powerhouse. None of the combined entities failed—in fact, in many cases, it’s quite the opposite. The newly-combined companies are doing better thanks to their collective strengths.

There’s now a push to double down on the most strategic security solutions, including directing innovation resources to a core cadre of products as opposed to spreading development resources thin across an overly diverse product portfolio.

We see something similar happening with Symantec/Broadcom. Before the acquisition, Symantec had hundreds of products in its portfolio, some even not directly in the security domain. Post-acquisition, we see far more clarity to the security product line. There’s now a push to double down on the most strategic security solutions, including directing innovation resources to a core cadre of products as opposed to spreading development resources thin across an overly diverse product portfolio. We think Symantec 2.0 is likely to be far more innovative and agile than it’s been in the past. And yes, that’s specifically because it’s whittled down its product line to cut out the superfluous and refocus on what’s important.

Since 2007, Infolock has been a Symantec Platinum Partner; we became a Vontu partner in 2005. Our roots run deep with the Data Loss Prevention (DLP), CloudSOC CASB, End-user Endpoint Protection, and Web Security Service (WSS) solutions, among other Symantec security offerings.

In fact, contrary to reports that Symantec is abandoning resellers and partners in droves, we’ve never been more engaged with the company. In keeping with the same theme, Symantec has pared down its partner ecosystem to those firms that are actively engaged with the technology and that can add value. For Infolock and our customers, that’s a huge upside. We are getting personalized attention, are privy to regular executive briefings, and have a greater opportunity to contribute to product strategy and innovation.

In fact, contrary to reports that Symantec is abandoning resellers and partners in droves, we’ve never been more engaged with the company.

Symantec Senior Vice President and General Manager Art Gilliland underscored the same in a blog post written post acquisition. As Gilliland noted, “Broadcom buys technology companies they can invest in to maintain technology leadership and it takes R&D very seriously.” Seventy percent of Broadcom employees are engineers, and the firm invests 20 percent of its revenue in R&D, which means a whole lot of investment targeted to critical Symantec security platforms like Data Loss Prevention. There is no sense to the argument that a serious R&D company doles out big bucks for a market leader only to let its products and innovation pipeline wither on the vine.

Many are also making a big deal about Symantec scaling back its workforce. Here, too, I see a real upside. Sure, Symantec has made substantial and permanent cuts in sales and non-engineering personnel after the acquisition was finalized, but those cuts were sorely needed. Symantec was over-staffed and had multiple, redundant layers of management, in part because of its prolific mergers and acquisition activity over the last few years. The new Symantec is leaner, more agile, and better able to innovate, and that’s good for customers and for long-time partners like Infolock.

The bottom line: Symantec’s competitors are circling like sharks, spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt—the dreaded FUD—trying to capitalize on a period of profound change. Yet there is no need for customers to jump ship or panic, thinking that their substantial security investments will soon be obsolete. My message to Symantec and Infolock customers is simple:

  • Stay focused on your security requirements. 
  • Block out the punditry and noise and make decisions on facts.
  • Take a measured approach to assessing your security future: analyze your goals, discuss your needs and expected outcomes, and consider available personnel and funding.

I’m fully confident that the new Symantec Enterprise Division is well positioned to meet the challenges of enterprise security today and more importantly, tomorrow.

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About the Author

Sean Steele

CISSP, CISA, CRISC, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Infolock

Sean leads the finance, operations, marketing, HR, legal, and administration functions of Infolock. Prior to co-founding Infolock in 2005, Sean was a founding employee at four other technology startup companies.

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