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"Before, it was all about the PC," said deSouza, the top director for how these ideas will be technically implemented. "Now it's mobile devices, BYOD, web platforms." The old enterprise network is not being replaced by cloud and mobile but expanded by it, he noted, saying it means there are simply more "control points" to be protected.
DeSouza acknowledged that Symantec's share of the security market has been falling over the last six years or so. Not only do traditional competitors such as McAfee remain a force to be reckoned with, but start-ups are also gaining a foothold in newer areas. DeSouza also said Symantec faces competition in various ways from the operating-system "stack providers" such as Microsoft with Windows, Apple with its iOS platform or VMware with its virtualization platform. But he said Symantec's advantage in meeting these challenges is through a "cross-platform, "heterogeneous" approach that will "scale" in terms of security and backup services and products. Symantec also emphasized the consumerization of IT and the "ITization of the consumer" now provided with ever-more powerful cloud and mobile technologies, is blurring the old demarcations between the role of enterprise network and the role of the individual.
Internal innovation will be key to what Symantec does, deSouza said. In about six to 10 months, Symantec expects to introduce new Information Security Services related to aggregating information related to both Symantec and third-party products, combined with threat intelligence feeds, to determine where network assets need remediation and the security-compliance status. For Business Continuity, Symantec anticipates continuity offerings for business-critical applications such as SAP, as well as physical and virtualized server platforms. There could be as many as 10 new products and services aimed at mobile and cloud backup and security in particular.
Symantec promised the Wall Street investors that this strategy will lead to "more than 5% organic growth" and "non-GAAP operating margins better than 30%" over the next two or three years. Still, some expressed skepticism combined with optimism, with JP Morgan, for instance, saying in its analysis it thinks Symantec has "a tremendous amount of untapped potential," but "it remains unclear whether than potential will be realized or simply remain that — unrealized potential." But JP Morgan also noted while Symantec "has been plagued by execution issues and secular concerns for years," the company has more value than is being recognized in the stock today.
The moment that Bennett's webcast meeting with the Wall Street investment firm crowd ended, rival McAfee, now owned by Intel, blasted out a mocking critique of it all.
"We see Symantec is embracing the McAfee Security Connected strategy but they are four years behind us," said Mike Fey, CTO at McAfee, claiming McAfee a decade ago made the decision to integrate products into the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator. He mockingly added that because McAfee has Intel behind it, Symantec's hardware and software security "is in no position to match" McAfee, which he said outguns Symantec in "network security" used by the enterprise.