Symantec ditches hardware

Symantec is cutting its investment in network and gateway security appliances and will stop manufacturing hardware for the products.

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By  Diana Milne Published  July 9, 2006

Symantec is cutting its investment in network and gateway security appliances and will stop manufacturing hardware for the products. The security vendor has announced it will no longer make the hardware for Symantec Gateway Security (SGS), Symantec Network Security (SNS) 7100 and SGS Advanced Manager 3.0 products — slashing 80 jobs in the process. It will be selecting partners to manufacture the hardware instead and will focus on developing security software and pursuing its core business strategy. “What Symantec is foremost is a software company, we’re not a hardware company,” said Kevin Issac, Symantec Middle East’s regional director. “So what that means is that we’re going to choose rather to partner with hardware companies than to create our own hardware. Because we can’t make hardware as well as hardware companies,” he admitted. “And what we’ll end up doing is spending money on investing in hardware when we don’t need to. What we need to be doing is creating great software,” he went on to add. Analyst firm Gartner described the move as a “good tactical decision for Symantec” which demonstrated “long-term focus on host-based security and security management products and services”. It noted that in May this year a joint product was announced for Nortel Application switches with Symantec and predicted the firm would pursue similar arrangements with other appliance and infrastructure vendors. The firm advised customers not to make any new purchases of Symantec SGS or SNS products other than to fill out very recent implementations and said that organisations with existing SGS and SNS products should plan now for replacements. Farming out the manufacturing of the hardware for the SGS, SNS and advanced manager security products would help to cut costs, said Issac, and would allow the company to focus on its core competencies — security, software and availability. “The problem is the cost of making the kind of investment that one needs to, to be able to deliver the quality that the market demands.,” said Isaac. “And when you look at companies like Dell or Sun or anybody else in the market place they are doing a great job.” “Why should we not utilise partnerships and strategic alliances rather than reinventing the wheel?,” he went on to add. Issac said no jobs would be lost in the Middle East, where Symantec does not have hardware manufacturing facilities, but instead at Symantec facilities in the US. The changes that are being made will not have any effect on the other Symantec security appliances — including Symantec Mail Security (SMS) and Symantec Security Information Manager (SSIM) whose hardware is already produced by partners. In the past, Symantec hardware has been produced by Dell and Sun Microsystems — but Issac could not confirm which companies would be producing its hardware in the future. Symantec will now be focusing on developing products for content management and solutions designed to protect users carrying out interactions online. “What we’re saying to our customers now is that we’re moving from infrastructure to a place where we’re managing information, security and availability of information, and the new area is being able to secure and protect interactions,” said Issac. “I think that content management and being able to protect interactions for customers when they are interacting is what we need to be focusing on right now — protecting interactions,” he added.

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