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Translating trends into opportunity

Anushkar Mohinani | Oct. 3, 2011
An interview with Symantec’s Bernard Kwok on IT industry trends and the cyber security company’s strategies, moving forward

In an exclusive interview with Computerworld Singapore at the recent Symantec Partner Engage event in Hong Kong, Symantec’s senior vice president of the Asia Pacific and Japan, Bernard Kwok, discusses some of the company’s growth strategies internally and for its channel partners across South Asia based on key trends.

Bernard Kwok, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan, Symantec

What is Symantec’s strategic focus moving forward?
Symantec has identified five megatrends transforming the IT industry, which will dictate our strategic focus. The key trends namely mobility, cloud, virtualisation, explosive data growth, and the changing threat landscape are delivering profound impacts across large enterprises and SMBs alike. Symantec’s strategy now and moving forward is to deliver solutions that allow our customers to address challenges relating to these trends, as well as to allow our partners to capitalise on the opportunities offered by these trends.

Why is Symantec paying particular attention to the SMB market?
The SMB market provides a tremendous growth opportunity for Symantec.
The market has a lot of ‘white spaces’ for us to go after. Moreover, Symantec’s solutions and services are very well targeted to growing security concerns and trends of this particular segment.

Symantec is indeed tailoring not just our solutions but our marketing and selling efforts to the unique needs of the SMB customers. Symantec hopes to achieve increased success in the SMB market and appear cohesive in our value proposition to our partners and end-users.

What opportunities lie ahead for Symantec’s partners in South Asia?
Symantec will continue to help our partners achieve predictable, profitable and sustainable business growth. A large percentage of our business is derived through our partners in this region so how well they do dictates how well Symantec does - I look at it as a win-win situation.

Our strategy for our channel partners is to put ourselves in their shoes and thus tailor programmes to fit their needs. For instance, Symantec realised that as the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, our partners need to focus in particular solution-set to differentiate themselves and achieve business growth, and with that in mind, Symantec rolled out ‘Specialisations’ – a new criterion in the partner programme that equips channel partners with specialised skills and an avenue for focus in key technology areas.

Symantec talks about a shift from an infrastructure-centric to an information-centric security model in this ‘new-environment’. How does this translate to Symantec’s current approach to security?
Information is key whether you look at it in a security or availability storage angle. Protecting and managing information is extremely critical no matter the device it is stored or transmitted. As information continues to grow exponentially, storing and securing it becomes a challenge. Symantec’s focus is to be information-centric as we design our strategies and solutions.

However, our approach to security is nevertheless holistic. First of all, Symantec addresses security from an enterprise perspective, where we help enterprises meet industry requirements through a policy-based approach. Furthermore, although I highlight that information is perhaps more valuable than infrastructure, Symantec’s also places high importance on infrastructure- protection such as server and endpoint security. The next element in Symantec’s security solution is identity management - Symantec looks at effective and efficient ways to authenticate, protect and preserve identity. And lastly, Symantec believes that to ensure a secure enterprise environment, it needs to be overall well-managed.

What is your advice to companies in the region on their security measures?
The threat landscape is rapidly evolving with increasingly complex and highly-targeted attacks. The dramatic rise in security breaches based on last year’s Symantec’s survey results reinforces the notion that companies across the region need to pay more attention to their security measures. Either they learn from their own mistakes or from those who have been attacked. A lot of people think good is good enough – it’s not.

Companies, as a first step, need to figure out what is important for them to secure and subsequently what policies and procedures are needed for that. 

Security should continue to be a forefront consideration.


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