Symantec split could lead to more innovation, says AISA

AISA spokesperson Lani Refiti says recent rounds of mergers and acquisitions in the cyber security industry will continue

Symantec’s announcement that it is splitting into two companies – one focused on security and the other on information management – could lead to more innovation and better customer solutions, according to Australian Information Security Association (AISA) spokesperson Lani Refiti.

The vendor’s board of directors made the announcement on Thursday, October 9 in the United States.

"It has become clear that winning in both security and information management requires distinct strategies, focused investments and go-to market innovation," Symantec president and CEO Michael A. Brown said in a statement.

The separate companies will have more flexibility and be able to focus better on their respective areas, he added.

The move comes just days after Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced that it plans to break itself into two companies.

HP's enterprise hardware, software and services businesses will be known as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. The other company, made up of its PC and printing businesses, will be called HP Inc, and will keep the HP logo.

Refiti said any move by an industry giant like Symantec to refocus its efforts on security, innovation and better solutions for customers is “a positive thing”.

“The whole data protection narrative that emerged when Symantec and Veritas Software merged [in 2005] never really resonated with the market and now it gives them an opportunity to be more agile and focused as a security vendor,” he said.

According to Refiti, the recent rounds of mergers and acquisitions in the cyber security industry will continue.

“The security industry is a dynamic market and it needs to be considering the agility and growing threat from adversaries. Although Symantec and HP's moves are unique in that they're splitting, it's part of a larger narrative of focus, consolidation and change,” he said.

Refiti pointed out that Cisco Systems snapped up Sourcefire in July 2013 and McAfee was acquired by Intel in 2010. Traditional hardware vendors such as IBM and Dell have set up cyber security portfolios as they transition into the services business.

IDC analyst Fayaz Khaki echoed Refiti’s thoughts in an interview with New Zealand Reseller News .

“The security market has and continues to evolve away from the areas in which Symantec have traditionally generated the most revenue,” said Khaki.

“As a result, their security business has come under threat recently by other niche vendors and also by smaller vendors who have been able to respond to market changes quicker.”

According to Khaki, growth in the cyber security industry will come from cloud and mobile technologies and potentially the Internet of Things (IoT).

Growth in the traditional markets, however, in which security vendors play – desktop, laptop security, for example – is fairly flat, he said.

Computerworld Australia contacted Symantec Australia for comment but it declined.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags Mergers and acquisitionsHPIDCsymantecAustralian Information Security Association (AISA)symantec separation

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