Symantec Reaping the Benefits of Blue Coat Acquisition

Symantec made multiple acquisitions in 2016, including its $4.65 billion purchase of Blue Coat, and is now benefiting from those assets as it aims to grow in 2017.

Symantec Network Security

It’s been nearly eight months since Symantec completed its $4.65 billion acquisition of security vendor Blue Coat, bringing in Blue Coat's management to lead the new combined company, and so far, so good, according to Mike Fey, who came over from Blue Coat and is now the chief operating officer of Symantec.

"Business has been strong since the closing," Fey told eWEEK. "Companies are looking for a few platforms that they can standardize on and that can also plug into other best-of-breed elements."

Blue Coat customers are still purchasing products and services and apparently didn't mind the merger of the two companies that took place in August 2016, he said. Neither did the engineers who came from Blue Coat. They are, in Fey's words, "having a ball" as they make use of the extensive capabilities that Symantec has to build new combined offerings.

"They now have the ability to leverage the combined capabilities of Symantec and Blue Coat, and that has sped up the innovation cycle," he said.

Among the integration points between the former Blue Coat technology and Symantec are data loss prevention (DLP) and cloud access security broker (CASB) technologies. As a result of the integration, Symantec now has a one-button click option to deploy policies into Blue Coat's CASB solution, Fey said.

Fey is also optimistic about Symantec's prospects in the consumer space, especially with the company's LifeLock identity protection service. Symantec acquired LifeLock for $2.3 billion in September 2016.

"Why Symantec bought LifeLock in the first place is not about malware protection," he said. "People want to protect their families from fraud."

While there has been some concern in the analyst community about the decline of the PC business, Fey claims the decline is not having an impact on the consumer market for cyber-security products. "There has never been a bigger cyber-security market for the consumer; they have never cared more," he said. "It's not about PC shipments; it's about focusing on digital safety."

According to Fey, LifeLock is one step of the process of not just protecting the devices consumers use, but protecting everything they do in the digital world. He added that consumers do want to know there is a brand they can trust to protect them, and no one wants to be their own IT shop at the consumer level.

Moving forward, Symantec has lots on its roadmap.

"We have a very aggressive technology schedule ahead of us, with major releases for many of our products in the coming months," Fey said. The product update cycle will require a lot of education for customers and partners, with all the new product capabilities in the works, he said.

Fey is confident that Symantec has a solid stack of security product and services now, though that doesn't mean that the company won't expand into new security areas in 2017.

"We like our stack right now. The total addressable market we're in matches nearly the entire cyber-security industry, so it's plenty large," Fey said. "So we don't feel pressure to acquire, but we are opportunistic."

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.