Symantec CEO Enrique Salem talked about the importance of integration and the convergence of system management and security at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Customers need to be able to manage and secure their entire infrastructure, requiring both cooperation between vendors and a concerted effort to tie management and security technologies together.
Symantec CEO Enrique Salem has three
things at the tip of his tongue here at the annual RSA
Conference: integration, reputation and systems management.
"We're not tied to [specific] hardware platforms," Salem
said during a closed meeting with the media. "Our goal is to work across all of
them. We want to secure your information independent of whom you use."
The company's multipronged approach is part of his vision of
"operationalizing security." In short, enterprises need to automate and extend
protection, visibility and management capabilities throughout the
enterprise infrastructure. As he put it in his keynote, IT administrators are
tired of having to be "systems integrators."
"I dealt with a very large company in the Chicago
area who said to me, -Enrique, you know what we want Symantec to do-to help us
commoditize the infrastructure," he explained during the press briefing. "We
basically want you to be in there and say, if I want to be an EMC
array, or I want to buy a NetApp filer ... let me do that, but let me drive
prices down for the people who buy that infrastructure by you having a common
software layer that works across all of them."
Symantec just shipped a new version of its systems management platform,
Notification Server 7.0, in February. Security and systems management have to
come together, Salem said. But the
key to managing the entire IT infrastructure involves interoperability, which
means partnering with vendors in other areas.
"I think partners and some of the folks we're working with right now are
starting to find their own custom integrations ... and so they're building custom
workflows with our technology. A partner in my opinion should be creating their
own intellectual property because that's how they can drive differentiation. So
if they could use our tools to do that, that's good for both of us."
The hope, of course, is all this will help users keep up with malware. In a
recent report, Symantec noted that 1.6 million new signatures were created in
2008. Salem, like many others,
noted that the traditional way of fighting malware through signatures alone is
no longer feasible. Instead, Symantec is shifting more toward reputation-based
Reputation technology, on the other hand, can give administrators the
opportunity to set policies that deny applications based on factors like their
age and how many people use them, Salem
"The idea is that we can do a few of these things that allow us to change
the model," he said.
While whitelisting and blacklisting are often discussed as alternatives to a
signature-based approach, the CEO said
during his keynote that both have their shortcomings. The company has
already included reputation technology in its consumer products, and is now
looking to build it into Symantec Endpoint Protection, Salem
told members of the media.
Predicting Symantec's software-as-service offerings will constitute 15 to 20
percent of its business over the next five years, Salem
said one of his goals is to reconcile the company's storage, security
and systems management portfolios.
"I think sometimes people are saying, so who is Symantec? Are they the company
in the data center? Are they the company that does anti-virus? Are they the
company that does systems management? Part of my opportunity is to make it very
clear who we are."