Symantec acquisition of Blue Coat ought to be a godsend: IDC

Duncan Brown, research director, IDC European security practice, reacts to massive Symantec acquisition

Tags: Blue Coat Systems IncorporatedMergers and acquisitionsSymantec CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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Symantec acquisition of Blue Coat ought to be a godsend: IDC For Symantec, the deal supports greater end-to-end solutions proposition.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 4, 2016

The (recent) acquisition of Blue Coat puts an end to months of speculation as to whether Symantec would splash out on a major security acquisition following the divestment of its former storage business Veritas.

Symantec has broken the silence with a whopper, the $4.7 billion deal representing (by IDC's quick calculations) the largest ever security specialist M&A transaction. It is the largest since Raytheon's $1.9 billion buyout of Websense in 2015.

As with any major transaction, let alone one this large, the challenge is execution. While it is easy to talk about an integrated, end-to-end solution, the reality of delivery is another matter. However, the key features of this acquisition may put Symantec on a more fortuitous footing.

End-to-End Proposition

Blue Coat has invested in an integration platform upon which it has developed a unified proposition. Blue Coat has a track record as a highly acquisitive organization itself. A key example is Blue Coat's acquisition of Crossbeam Systems, bringing to the group a network security platform that was able to integrate applications from third-party security software vendors. This has gone on to form a foundation across which Blue Coat can integrate its own solutions, and those of its acquired businesses. This could provide the basis for a platform security approach for Symantec itself, enabling an end-to-end proposition.

Portfolio Enhancement

It is interesting to note that, before any major retooling of products occurs, incoming CEO Greg Clark stresses the opportunities to combine Blue Coat and Symantec offerings that can have a positive impact on a near immediate timescale. The key example given is in threat intelligence, where the ability to generate telemetry on the latest threat activity from across a broader set of sources will provide the enlarged company with a stronger degree of insight. Meanwhile, the ability to combine Symantec's email security proposition with Blue Coat's mail scanning appliance is targeted as another "quick win."

On top of this, Symantec's services propositions will receive a further boost around this enhanced threat intelligence offering. Threat intelligence is a key driver for how Symantec helps customers to monitor and operate their security environment; with better threat intelligence being input, the outcome will also rise in quality, adding further impetus to an existing strength.

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