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As Veritas Split Nears, Symantec Doubles Down on Security

This is a critical period for Symantec Corp. by all accounts.

Sometime this quarter, the security giant is expected to finalize its split from Veritas Software Corp., marking the end of the two companies' troubled 10-year relationship. Symantec purchased data-management firm Veritas in 2005 for an estimated $13.5 billion, making it one of the largest IT software acquisitions in history at the time, and the centerpiece of Symantec's storied acquisition spree of the early-to-mid-2000s.

However, the deal never quite managed to bring Symantec the dividends it was hoping for. This past August, after years of falling revenues and numerous organizational and executive changes, Symantec announced its intent to sell the Veritas business for $8 billion to private equity firm Carlyle Group.

The divestment of the data-management business signals a renewed focus for Symantec on its bread-and-butter: security. This has been welcome news for Symantec's channel partners, according to Piero DePaoli, senior director of global product marketing at Symantec.

"I think the general consensus from the partner community is that they are excited," he said in an interview, adding that the excitement has been compounded by this month's launch of the Symantec Secure One partner program. Partners are looking forward to "the fact that Symantec will be able to invest in building a bunch of new security solutions for them to go sell," DePaoli said. "And so just being able to become this focused security company in a pretty amazing market around cybersecurity these days -- all the feedback has been positive."

"This is a bit of a new Symantec, where we're hyper-focused on being a standalone security company and using everything we've got to deliver solutions and services designed for the new era of cybersecurity."

Piero DePaoli, Senior Director, Global Product Marketing, Symantec Corp.

Symantec unveiled the first of these new security solutions on Tuesday. The Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) product aims to give organizations a single window from which they can detect, fix and prevent security threats affecting all of their control points -- namely e-mail, networks and endpoints. The product is designed to eliminate the burden of deploying and managing multiple security products from multiple vendors across multiple areas in an organization.

Symantec estimates that a single enterprise runs an average of 75 different security products. The sheer volume has the effect of bogging down IT's response times to security alerts, DePaoli explained.

"Security professionals are struggling with individual-point products in different places in an attempt to stop a lot of these advanced threats. And what's happening is the process around uncovering potential threats across networks, enpoints and e-mail is extremely manual and time-consuming. This manual and time-consuming part is what's giving attackers an edge," he said. "This is the first solution that is going to help companies remediate advanced threats across all control points...and we'll do that from a single console with just a click. And for Symantec customers, they'll be able to do this without having to deploy any new agent to their endpoints."

The no-new-agent feature is the big differentiator for ATP and a key selling point for Symantec partners, DePaoli said.

"This is going to give them the opportunity to go back to the customers they already work with -- that are using Symantec Endpoint Protection and Email Security.cloud [two of Symantec's core products] -- and have something else that they can offer them on top of what they're already supplying. This allows them to have the bigger conversation. The other part it does for channel partners is it allows them to expand their security portfolio overall, to have a bigger solution, to be able to solve bigger problems for their customers. And the idea that they can do this without having to deploy new endpoint agents? Every other competitive solution that's out there requires that an agent gets deployed."

In the context of Symantec's re-emergence as a company that's purely focused on security, the announcement of the ATP is a pivotal one, according to DePaoli.

"This is a big deal for the market, it's a big deal for our channel partners and it's a big deal for Symantec," he said. "This is a bit of a new Symantec, where we're hyper-focused on being a standalone security company and using everything we've got to deliver solutions and services designed for the new era of cybersecurity. We see this being the first of many things you're going to see from Symantec over the coming months."

ATP is currently in beta, but will be available for purchase through Symantec and its Secure One partners by the end of this year. Gold and Platinum partners will get the green light first, according to DePaoli. In its press release, Symantec indicated that the product will become available "third party technology partners, including firewall and other security product vendors" at some point in the future.

Pricing starts at $40 per user per year for a single control point, and scales up to $70 per user per year for three control points.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.