Partner opportunity moves to monitoring as Symantec hits the cloud

Partner opportunity moves to monitoring as Symantec hits the cloud

Migration and monitoring are the new niches for partners as vendor launches most sophisticated solution to date.

Nick Savvides - Cyber security strategy manager APJ, Symantec

Nick Savvides - Cyber security strategy manager APJ, Symantec

Symantec has released the latest version of its latest endpoint protection solution, with the vendor advising partners to migrate customers and monitor environments.

Following the integration of Blue Coat on August 1, 2016, the security vendor has already integrated a number of solutions from the network security company into its latest endpoint product.

Leading up to the acquisition, Symantec global vice-president of channel sales, John Thompson, told ARN partners would be crucial to the company's success going forward. Now the vendor's strategy for its partners is beginning to take shape.

Symantec cyber security strategy manager APJ, Nick Savvides, said that following the integration of Blue Coat technologies and new offerings the vendor has developed, partners should now look to migrate customers to cloud based security to access the increased revenue that monitoring can provide.

“We are elevating the skills of our people to enable the partner to deliver higher value services in first of all rolling out the infrastructure and then managing the response,” he said.

“I think that's a great opportunity for partners. If a partner is getting $100 to roll out a server, then they can get $200 for doing remediation.”

Symantec managed security services senior director, Peter Sparkes, added that every organisation in Australia currently can't grapple with cyber security without added assistance.

“They need to look at what tasks they can get a partner to do and what is core that they need to keep in house,” he said. “This is part of that play, and that includes government.”

Savvides said Symantec had worked to improve the design of its software to make it more accessible for partners servicing large organisations and in particular the SMB market.

“We completely revamped the user interface to make it simpler and importantly it is completely delivered from the cloud so it operates across multiple devices,” he added.

Savvides added that this would make it easier for partner to help the customer understand their own environment and therefore spend more time on services which delivered higher revenue.

A philosophical shift

Symantec was traditionally conservative when it came to the default security settings on its products. It did this to allow each partner or customer to increase the controls depending on specific need.

Peter Sparkes - Senior director managed security services APJ, Symantec
Peter Sparkes - Senior director managed security services APJ, Symantec

But now the company has flipped that ethos on its head.

The latest version of its endpoint solution comes with the highest security controls as default and will let the partner or customer dial back these controls as desired.

Savvides said this change came from a philosophical discussion at Symantec. Partners and Symantec’s sales force received negative feedback from customers following a breach or an issue.

Savvides said this was not due to a failing in the product but because the customer did not have the correct settings in place.

"We always had that base level and let the customer make the decision, now we are going to crank up the settings to max and the customer can still make the decision but they are going to have to wind it back,” he explained.

The vendor has also revamped up its data loss prevention offering following the Blue Coat integration to work in the cloud across multiple apps, with Savvides advising that assisting customers setting up the rules for this service represents another "high value service" for partners to explore.

"Most customers require assistance in developing their maturity around their policy and this is where I think partners have a real role to play in that advisory function,” he added.

Partnering with AWS

To deliver its cloud-based offering, Symantec has had to increase its data centre footprint globally, partnering with AWS to achieve the global footprint required to improve latency.

The security vendor has a number of existing facilities which it owns and operates mainly in North America.

These are used to running its proprietary technologies such as machine learning, encryption and sand boxing while in other regions such as Australia, Symantec facilities are co-located.

“What you will see now is that a lot of these services will be provisioned in AWS,” Savvides said. “Some things will always remain in our own data centres but the edge services that customers see are pretty much all going to AWS over the next 12 months.”

Savvides said the public cloud provider has now reached a level of maturity that made the vendor comfortable with deploying services on the platform.

“If we were having this conversation two years ago, I wouldn’t have said that AWS was ready, but the number of points of presence they have and the number of locations they have makes it hard to justify not only to our customers but to our shareholders the massive capital expenditure required to build it our own data centres," he added.

"It doesn’t make sense anymore. You don’t build your own power station, why would I build my own data centre."

Savvides added that Symantec was also looking at the possibility of expanding to other cloud providers.

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