Symantec chief: Security about more than 'shiny new objects'

Summary:"You'll hear a lot of noise at RSA this week about six or seven shiny new objects. If you just buy my shiny new object, my shiny new point solution, that will solve all your security problems. The answer is, it's not true," says Symantec CEO Steve Bennett.

Symantec CEO Steve Bennett pitched his company's new focus on integrating its various product lines, targeting "solutions" and knocked his rivals using the RSA conference to market new security silver bullets.

Bennett, who recently outlined Symantec's new strategy and his master plan to grow the company, said the following at a Morgan Stanley investor conference:

Customers are looking for companies to step up and solve their problem. You'll hear a lot of noise at RSA this week about six or seven shiny new objects. If you just buy my shiny new object, my shiny new point solution, that will solve all your security problems. The answer is, it's not true.

Bennett, who obviously has a vested interest in selling integrated products over point ones, has a point. The big question is whether Symantec's plan will resonate with IT buyers. Symantec is trying to address the reality that hackers can target multiple control points in the data center, network and security layers. More:  Symantec: We were bloated, slow in delivery  | Symantec unveils new strategy; takes on massive reorg, cuts middle management

Here's a look at Symantec's big plan in a nutshell:



For Symantec, it makes the most sense to target data center and end point security, said Bennett, who added the company is looking to partner with network security providers. "We are the prettiest girl at the dance now," said Bennett.

The interesting twist for Symantec is that it's pitching a suite of products when many sectors are thinking a best of breed approach powered by cloud computing and software as a service.

"There are so many unmet, underserved customer needs here. Because everybody keeps adding new point solutions and not focusing on what the customers needs, which is more integrated solutions," said Bennett.

As a result, Symantec is looking to unload products that won't fit, develop others and take offering and include them as features elsewhere. Symantec has 150 products.

For now, Symantec is rolling out 10 integrated suites and developing roadmaps. Mobile will also be critical. "We will launch these in the next six months to 24 months," said Bennett.

"When we were competing point solution by point solution, we let the competition dictate the playing field. The magic of this for us is we are going to solve an important customer problem and change the basis for competition to a place where we're advantaged, if we can execute well," said Bennett.

Will Bennett's strategy work? Possibly. Bennett said Symantec will be focused on customers not the competition. At the very least, security vendors need to integrate better and solve problems.

"I was talking to a large financial service -- they are using 100 third-party software as a service solutions to run their company. Think about the security implications of -- and by the way, everybody is nervous about it. So I think there is individual -- what we have to do is have a leader that integrates all of these things in a way that delivers value," said Bennett.

Topics: Storage, Mobility, Security


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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