Q&A: Symantec, McAfee CEOs have differing views on security landscape

Thompson, DeWalt discuss strategic directions

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We're getting out of the network side, so why compete with Cisco and Juniper and Alcatel? Why don't we partner with them and license our technologies to them because we'd like to have the scanners we have in place to become more ubiquitous, not less so? Let's move to where the user is interacting with the application or where the application is managing the digital content. And while the competition there is no less fierce, it certainly is a place where we have real strengths that we think are worthy of us doubling down.

There's also the issue of heterogeneity. Whereas someone like Microsoft is only focused on Windows, our largest customers still run mainframes, Unix, and have interests with Linux in the applications sphere. We have to address the real-world heterogeneous technologies in use within our customers, while these companies are focused on securing their own technologies.

DeWalt: One word describes our differentiation from these companies: heterogeneity.

Large companies want freedom of choice of any platform with any OS [operating system] with any technology. They don't want to get locked down with Oracle, EMC or Microsoft, which only support their own releases with their security products.

How many people have moved to Vista so far? Would you trust your security requirements to a single vendor? Microsoft can tell you they will throw in security capabilities, so there's a battle between big vendors doing pieces of the stack versus pure-plays.

This goes back to conversations of best-of-breed small vendors versus best-of-breed large vendors, and it is turning into best-of-breed security versus gigantic companies with some security in their strategy.

We bet that the cross-platform approach wins out. To support all is better than just supporting one vendor, whether for storage, the OS or routers. Cisco is not exactly supporting Juniper anymore.

Our goal with heterogeneity is to create freedom of choice for customers to leverage, and we don't think that many of them want to get locked into one vendor.

This story, "Q&A: Symantec, McAfee CEOs have differing views on security landscape" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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