Symantec prioritises focus on unified security strategy following split

Symantec APAC senior vice president Sanjay Rohatgi has revealed there are four key focus areas for the "new Symantec", and a large part of it will be delivering its unified security strategy.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Following announcing the split of the company, Symantec is already looking ahead. Sanjay Rohatgi, Symantec APAC senior vice president, said the company is eyeing four key focus areas to drive growth in the future.

Calling it the "new Symantec", Rohatgi said the security business will be focused on delivering its unified security strategy, saying this will encompass four key pillars: Threat protection, information protection, cybersecurity services, and a unified security analytics. Under its unified security analytics umbrella, the company plans to shortly launch Risk Insights, a platform to give CIOs and CSOs an overview of the threat landscape and how their operations compare to peers.

"It's not only about prevention; it's about detection and remediation. The advanced threat protection will be on the key pillars of leveraging the endpoint, the network, and email. It will be about how we can uncover the threats, prioritise, and then take it to sandbox for remediation in the cloud," he said.

The company will also double down on enterprise security, Rohatgi said, noting that quarter over quarter the company's order pipeline has been improving. He attributed part of this to driven by the company's relationships with partners and distributors.

"There's a new partner program from Symantec that was launched in APJ on October 20 called Secure One. The whole idea is: 'How can we work with our partners to really start building our enterprise security business in a more holistic way?' We're seeing the results," he said.

"Our partners are very excited. I think the Secure One was built on two things: One was partner enablement and the other was partner profitability. We've really simplified the process so I think partners and distributors are very excited about our Secure One program."

Additionally, from an enterprise perspective, the company is bolstering its cloud security with plans to offer existing on-premise security products in the cloud as security-as-a-service. Rohatgi said the decision behind this move is to give customers the choice whether they want to consume Symantec's security services in the cloud or on-prem. The company has already piloted this move with two unnamed countries.

He further added the transition to completely become a security-as-a-service provider will take time, but believes it will be up and running in the next 12 to 18 months.

"As we meet our customers, handling security for complex threats is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations, so what they're saying is can I actually start outsourcing the whole security portfolio out to you," he said.

"CSS (cyber security services), the software in which we are developing, you will see why we believe that we can actually solve a lot of cyber threat issues for our customers."

Following the announcement of the split, the security software giant reported in November during its second quarter earnings that net income sat at $244 million and revenue at $1.617 billion, a slight miss on what Wall Street was after at $1.62 billion.

The results align with the company's third focus: Improving its cost structure. Rohatgi said based on quarter over quarter results the company is confident that its financial position will be improved as it executes its unified security strategy.

In the long term, Rohatgi said the company plans to improve operating margin by 30 percent, however, acknowledged it will take some time for the company to get there as it goes about handling legacy costs. Last quarter, the company reported operating margin of 27 to 28 percent.

"A lot of the costs are in the IT systems. As you split any company there is a lot of IT systems so I think we just want to make sure when we split, Symantec will carry some of the legacy costs therefore I believe to get to 30 percent will take slightly longer, and we'll achieve it in six to eight quarters," he said.

Rohatgi also reinforced that the company will be deploying more capital to maximise shareholder value, with it having already announced $500 million as part of its shareholder buyback program. This brings Symantec's total contribution to shareholder value to $1.5 billion to date.

While the company has confirmed that it will rely on organic growth, Rohatgi touted that the company can expect to make acquisitions that will align with its unified security strategy.

Symantec confirmed that it was splitting last October, following a unanimous decision by the company's board of directors, as well as murmurs about a potential breakup. One part of the business will be focused on security and the other on information management. Rohatgi said the split will be finalised in the first week of January.

Disclosure: Aimee Chanthadavong travelled as a guest of Symantec to Singapore.

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