Symantec is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Head of EMEA John Brigden discusses the latest trends in the security market.
Q: What are the kinds of things our customers are interested in at the moment?
A: Most interest right now is in data management: the storage of it and the security of it, compliance and IT policy, and data leakage. So companies are really exploring the area of data management. There is definitely huge pent-up demand and year-on-year there has been growth in that area of 58% in data leakage protection (DLP) issues in Germany and the UK. Virtualisation is big too.
The first layer of security is infrastructure, you have got to secure that front line of mobile and desktops. That is great, but pretty basic. Now we have got to think about information. Companies care about what information is and where it is in the enterprise. As data moves, companies want to prevent that, modify or move it. A well-managed infrastructure is a secure infrastructure. Then you can start thinking about security layer and specific interactions of someone from outside wanting to do something with your data. So it is important to think about infrastructure and data and the interaction between them.
Overall, we offer all round protection and help companies make their data available and secure and integrated as simply as possible. We are not a vertical player, we do not sell any hardware. We are cross-platform which I do not think any other companies are.
Q: How is Symantec's business broken down?
A: 27% of the overall business is consumer and that sector is doing fine; it is a cyclical and profitable part of the business. The enterprise business is split into three segments: small businesses (10-12%), mid-sized businesses (35%), and enterprise 65%, and those ratios are pretty consistent globally. As you would expect the small and mid markets are growing fastest. Within the enterprise space our security business is 30%-40% availability and 50-60% services and solutions.
Q: Have you felt any fall-out from the credit crunch yet?
A: Our security business is well positioned for any downturn. In the enterprise space there is a lot going on in storage and capacity management, while in the small and mid-size areas there is still a strong demand to put baseline security in place. It is going to hurt some of the smaller players that do not have all the pieces in place and just offer a solution such as anti-virus. Now we deal with desktop, endpoint security, encryption, storage, data centres and networks.
Q: As firms like Cisco buy into the security space does that offer you competition?
A: Cisco has some good products, but why buy security just for your network separately, when you need endpoint security and storage and data centre security. We only see Cisco when someone buys a router.
Q: You have grown through acquisition, is this a trend that will continue and how can you ensure homegrown innovation?
A: We are an acquisitive company and we will look at acquiring more companies. But we invest 17% in R&D, so we have a lot of organic development, as well as look at inorganic growth to accelerate our entrance into a related market. John Thompson (Symantec CEO) has said that we do not do new markets very often and it is not something we do instinctively, but we may look at it. Most of our acquisitions are complementary businesses. Recently, we acquired Vontu in the DLP space.
If you are running Vontu and you have a policy in place and someone violates that policy and does not know it, Vontu gives you an automated way of telling them. Operationalising your policy can reduce infringements.
Q: Do many of your customers want to outsource their security?
A: A lot of our customers say they only want to outsource small bits, but the more they work with us the more they want us to do more and more.
That part of the business is growing incredibly fast.