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Innovation That Exceeds Expectations

Innovators@Symantec series

Can you share a little of your background?

My journey began 30 years ago as a software developer, where I had the great opportunity of implementing the first SSL library integrated with the network security stack. I later played a major role in building and operating one of the first supply chain SaaS applications. Currently, I'm the engineering product owner for several Symantec Enterprise products. 

One of those products is Cloud SWG. It's a cloud-based network security solution that offers low latency, high performance network proxy solution. Cloud SWG really serves as a platform backbone for many of the other cloud-based Symantec Enterprise products. That includes CASB, DLP, Web Isolation, and ZTNA, our zero trust solution.

What trends have you seen among customers in that time?

The biggest change is the number of security products customers use. We now hear from customers that it’s a significant challenge to managing and coordinate all the vendors in trying to establish an end-to-end and comprehensive approach to their security infrastructure and threat protection.  Imagine having three to five, or even more, different vendors, and trying to stitch them together.

Customers want to rely on one single vendor, like Symantec. One that will allow them to fulfill their security requirements from end to end. So that desire and that demand has been the driving force behind our two major roadmap initiatives, a single console, and a single agent across all our products.

Do you have a good example when a customer sees a feature they didn’t know about and has a "wow" moment?

When we migrated out of all the collocated data centers into Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It was considered a migration; therefore it flew under the radar of most customers. But now that we're in GCP, in a cloud native environment, there are some huge benefits.  Those benefits are improving customers experience dramatically.

One is true scalability. We easily meet the evolving needs and demands of our customers.  We are able to rapidly increase our capacity. During COVID, a lot of the workers had to go home and start working remotely, many vendors could not increase their capacity fast enough across regions, because everything was locked down.

We can increase our capacity within minutes. We were easily able to scale out and satisfy our customers' needs.  It also allows us to dynamically respond to surges in traffic. And meet any requirements in specific regions. 

User traffic routing through our Cloud SWG stack, including network security and threat protection, actually outperforms direct internet access. We had third party testing done to confirm this. Customers were basically floored when we highlighted these benefits and had numbers to show them. 

What is the innovation at Symantec that you are most proud of?

As we all know, there's a super heightened focus on generative AI.  Customers are keen to explore the potential of generative AI, while trying to figure out how they can safeguard their organization from threats of malicious actors. They really need to figure out how to protect their internal, confidential, and sensitive data. Because as their users to start leveraging AI they're afraid that sensitive data will be leaked out.

In response to this challenge, our CASB team, the gatelet team, and DLP team together, developed one of the first industry inline CASB gatelet specifically designed to provide visibility and controls for ChatGPT, Google Bard, and other AI platforms. It’s an innovative solution that really allows our customer to not just have control, but also having visibility into their user's interaction with these AI tools. And then, we're leveraging DLP to prevent any kind of unauthorized leaks of confidential information.

What does being an Innovator mean to you?

For me, to be an innovator is to come up with solutions that delight our customers. Not just satisfy their requirements, but coming up with solutions to their problems that goes above and beyond satisfying them.  When we do that, our customers truly believe that we're their partners, truly believe that staying working with Symantec and staying with our product portfolio, they can get a much, much better experience compared to going with our competitors. To me, being innovator is to really go above and beyond and do whatever's necessary to delight our customers. Finding a way to exceed expectations.

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About the Author

Wendy Liau

Senior Director of Product Development,

Wendy is the engineering product owner for several Symantec Enterprise Products, including Cloud Managed Platform for Symantec Endpoint Security, Cloud Secure Web Gateway, and CloudSOC CASB Gatelets.

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