Symantec-Veritas merger has difficult work on tap

Symantec Corp. CEO John Thompson’s vision of end-to-end security coming from the merger with Veritas Software Corp. will need to be backed by specific solutions if it is to catch on with customers, according to analysts.

Warren Shiau, an independent technology analyst in Toronto, said the merger of Symantec and Veritas makes a lot of sense since information security has come to encompass the whole enterprise. But the challenge for Symantec will be to develop a set of solutions from their disparate offerings to deliver that kind of comprehensive security, he said.

Thompson recently spoke to journalists and analysts about the US$13.5 billion merger.

He said comprehensive security will come about by combining Symantec’s software security solutions with Veritas’s storage and data management solutions.

The result will be end-to-end data integrity where the focus is not just on the security of information, but also on its availability, he said.

David Freund, practice leader for information architecture with Nashua, N.H.-based Illuminata Inc., agreed with Shiau that Symantec’s biggest hurdle will be merging the two companies’ products. Veritas and Symantec are viewed as playing in different markets with solutions that do not necessarily appear — at least at the outset — to come together naturally, he said.

Symantec is seen as a consumer-oriented company with its popular antivirus and personal desktop security software. Meanwhile, Veritas is a major player in the corporate and enterprise market with its storage and application management solutions, Freund said.

“The story sounds good, but what you have are two companies that have very different focuses, target markets that are different and sales forces that behave differently,” he explained. “To combine these things, both from a product perspective and from an operational perspective, there is a lot of [work] to do.”

But not all analysts agree.

Laura Koetzle, vice-president and research director for Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., said creating specific solutions to meet Thompson’s vision won’t be difficult.

The parts for a complete security package covering the desktop to the server already exist in technologies both Symantec and Veritas acquired the past few years, she said. These include Symatec’s acquisitions of PowerQuest and On Technology, and Veritas purchases in the data management and server automation markets.

“What I think (the new company) will do is produce a data centre automation (solution),” Koetzle said. “This will include server configuration management, plus patch management and vulnerability management.”

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