Skip to main content
A Secret Mission in Uncharted Space

Attending Symantec’s Vision 360 summit in London at the end of last week left me with several observations.

The big yellow box company was using the event to launch its new “Integrated Security Management System” to potential and existing Enterprise customers and bought in some big guns, in the shape of NISCC’s Steve Cummings and Sir Andrew Wood, the former British Ambassador to Russia, to help Symantec COO John Schwarz articulate the company’s latest approach to keeping the lid on a growing global information security problem.

For Schwarz there are many different problems tugging at his development team and above them all, “The sheer complexity – of increasingly blended threats – creating an unmanageable situation for most of us”. He compared the present, disjointed state of the industry with the early days of Client-server computing, pointing out, that different generations shared a systems management challenge in common. In such complex and increasingly multiple device-type environments we’re surrounded by “Dozens of highly specialized ‘point’ products that don’t communicate”.

You might think of this condition as a kind of ‘points failure’ and with statistics suggesting confidence in corporate information security to be rather less than that in Railtrack, solving the systems management problem, in the wider security sense is, as Microsoft’s Chief Security Officer, Stuart Okin, would agree, a fundamental problem to be overcome.

As you might expect, Symantec has, what it believes to be a new solution to this a ‘Tower of Babel Effect’ of the industry’s own making and I’m sure they’ll tell you about it if you ask. Just as interesting perhaps, from my point of view, is how, in the space of eighteen months, the company whose strategy was once derided as “a blizzard of yellow boxes”, has suddenly emerged, almost unchallenged as the dominant player in the Enterprise security space.

Undoubtedly, the other security giants will point to the latest Gartner or IDC report on who offers the best anti virus solution or who happens to be strongest at the perimeter of the network. Symantec however, through a number of swift acquisitions and a ‘Buzz Lightyear’ style, is attracting the attention of both business and the public sector with a mix of clever marketing and brand management. It strikes me that Symantec and Enterprise security are becoming increasingly synonymous and unless the other players’ sit-up and pay attention, the lucrative Enterprise security and managed services space could find itself wrapped-up inside a series of yellow box solutions.

Does that matter? I don’t think so because what this sector of the industry needs is more professionalism and the tighter product integration that John Schwarz describes. What remains to be seen is whether companies like Symantec which started in the security ‘commodity’ space, can succeed and thrive in the same managed services space as companies such as Unisys and IBM.


Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…