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Securing growth

Since dropping its security appliance lines and partnering with Juniper, Symantec has shifted its enterprise strategy. NME spoke to Kevin Isaac about how the vendor approaches the security market.

Symantec, one of the very largest security software vendors in the world, has made its name through clever acquisitions and partnerships. One of its latest tie-ups in the security field is with Juniper - Symantec and the high-end enterprise and service provider vendor will work together to develop security technology; Juniper will also use Symantec technology in parts of its security product range.

In the Middle East, Symantec is currently going through a restructuring and expansion process, increasing its head count in the region and refocusing its activities. Kevin Isaac, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Symantec, explains the strategy.

"We have a new fiscal year starting on 1 April and you will see quite a lot of change from that point of time," says Isaac. "This business is developing every six months; it is changing, and moving very quickly to a mature business model for the region. We have grown our staff complement for the region by more than 100% in the last 12 months - physically there are more than 65 people on the ground in the Middle East, with people coming in and out all the time as well. We could have anything from 60 to 100 people on the ground at any one time."

Asked where this expansion drive is leading, Isaac says the market can expect a mid-market and SMB focus from Symantec. He explains the company has separated its very successful consumer division - which focuses on its Norton range of utilities and security tools - from its business-focused operations. In terms of enterprise projects, Isaac is working to target sectors individually.

"You'll see a team of people focusing on telecoms or banking or on the very high end, with a maturity and business sophistication needed to deal with those things," he says. "Phishing for banking, or awareness or specifying requirements around these verticals; it could be around oil and gas and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA), or PCS control systems. These industries have to be dealt with in a sophisticated way or else you just don't engage the customer or deal with their needs."

In terms of staff, Isaac says Symantec will continue to operate out of its existing UAE and Saudi-Arabian offices, but more people will be assigned as country managers, better to target individual needs and situations.

"MENA is exceeding most other regions in terms of the way that we are driving the business and in terms of the market that we are seeing - we are doing exceptionally well and I am very pleased with the interaction and the results that we are seeing out of our team and customers - we are experiencing a good year," says Isaac.

The security market in the region does appear to be growing, but Symantec will have a fight on its hands as increasing numbers of security vendors make themselves felt in the Middle East, all pushing for a share of Symantec's pie.

“These industries have to be dealt with in a sophisticated way or else you just don’t engage the customer.”

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