The Demise of Symantec?

Richard Stiennon‘s recent op-ed for Forbes entitled “The Demise of Symantec” is a sloppy example of FUD (Fear – Uncertainty – Doubt) disguised as a critique of a corporate acquisition. It’s factually incorrect and apparently based on rumor and hearsay. In it, Mr. Stiennon makes strident, even wild, claims about Symantec’s health and relevance as a security vendor. However, it’s clear he hasn’t spoken to anyone at Symantec.

What is important is separating facts from FUD. Mr. Stiennon is doing Symantec customers a disservice by oversimplifying the situation.

  1. Symantec isn’t “abandoning” anyone. Mr. Stiennon mentions “disturbing news” about “100,000 Symantec customers looking for alternatives,” and “Symantec abandoning all but its top resellers.” None of these statements is true. Every Symantec customer continues to be able to buy or renew solutions, and receive technical support. Infolock is a Symantec partner, and we’ve never been more engaged by their team.
  2. Symantec’s strategy isn’t “insane” or “doomed to failure.” Mr. Stiennon says the acquisition by Broadcom “spells the end of Symantec as a security behemoth” – but offers no evidence, no logic, for that pronouncement. Brands get acquired or merged frequently, and for varying reasons – consider CVS buying Aetna, Dell acquiring EMC, and Fiat and Chrysler merging. Did these brands fail? Are these activities “insane”? Broadcom’s CA acquisition in 2018 has been successful by almost every measure.
  3. Symantec isn’t “bleeding people.” There were substantial and permanent cuts in sales and non-engineering personnel after the Broadcom acquisition, but those cuts were sorely needed. Symantec was over-staffed, with multiple, redundant layers of management. The new Symantec is leaner, more agile, and better able to innovate.
  4. Symantec customers don’t need to panic. Instead of immediately “looking at replacing the multiple Symantec products” you have, as Mr. Stiennon demands, consider the long-term pros and cons. For example, Cloud-delivered security solutions might be a viable path forward, but that strategy is far from a sure thing. You must carefully analyze your goals, discuss your needs and expected outcomes, and consider available personnel and funding. Don’t rush headlong into any decision.

Symantec’s competitors are circling like sharks — they clearly smell blood in the water. And one can hardly blame them: change breeds uncertainty.

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.

During our more than decade-long partnership we’ve grown to intimately understand the challenges, benefits, and realities of managing data protection. We believe now is the time to carefully understand Symantec’s strategy, to weigh options and to chart a path forward, but not to jump to any conclusions — or embark on massive “rip-and-replace” campaigns encouraged by other product vendors.

Corporate acquisitions are messy, disruptive events. However, messy doesn’t necessarily mean negative, and disruptive doesn’t always equate to destructive.

We created the industry’s first Data Risk Management Framework, and made it free for organizations to use because data protection is challenging to understand and manage. We feel it can help clarify and shape your efforts.

As always, we’re here to help. Please contact us if you have questions, or want to discuss Symantec (or any other aspect of your IT security portfolio) in more detail.

Sean Steele is a co-founder and managing partner of Infolock. He has his CISSP, CISA, and CRISC certifications, and thinks everyone should know how to tie a nail knot in 30 mph winds.

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