Symantec Keeps it Fresh with Cyber Defense Platform

Posted Date 10/13/17

Symantec is the largest cybersecurity company in the world. It has also recently completed two acquisitions—Blue Coat and LifeLock—and has now devised what it calls an Integrated Cyber Defense Platform.

In an interview for Forbes, Symantec’s CIO Sheila Jordan says that the platform was essential to avoid fragmentation after the acquisitions because fragmentation makes the enterprise vulnerable to attacks. The acquisitions themselves, Jordan said, gave Symantec the opportunity to transform its way of doing work and improve the products it supplies to small, medium, and large businesses alike.

When it absorbs another company, Jordan said, Symnatec seeks to simplify and reduce the complexity of operations, departments, and processes. So, along with the integration of the target company’s operations, Symantec also transforms the way it operates, too, aiming for more agility, simplicity, and, ultimately, speeding up the process of taking a product to market.

In fact, the company designed an end-to-end reference architecture for its subscription platform, to make sure its customers use Symantec products and services in the way they want to. The platform covers everything from quoting and configuring an order to distributing it. The ultimate goal is to have a platform that allows a subscriber to get what they need from Symantec with a few clicks.

Asked about the role of Symantec’s own IT department within the larger organization, Jordan compared it to a Petri dish. Her department is testing and providing feedback for all new products, there is continual communication between the departments, and there is a program in place, called CustomerONE for documenting the deployment of all new products.

There is a lot of outsourcing going on in every industry, and technology is no exception but, according to Jordan, insourcing is no less important. In fact, she says she was hired by Symantec to insource a lot of the IT operations the cybersecurity giant had previously outsourced.

Insourcing involved setting up a whole new team and giving control of services to a group of leaders who act as owners of each respective service. The services owner-led organization, according to Jordan, is the way to go. In it, each service has an owner, an employee, who manages it and solves problems as they arise, it makes for empowerment of the employees and at the same time helps optimize processes.

As for what the balance between outsourcing and insourcing should be, Symantec’s CIO believes that it’s basically a question of core competencies versus non-core ones. While software engineering is a core competency for Symantec and it is best done in-house, call center management is a non-core competency and it would be better outsourced to utilize the competencies of those good at it.

The IT sector has changed radically over the last five years. Now, pretty much everything can be done on the go or remotely thanks to digital tech. IT, Jordan says, is no longer just a back-office department. Now, IT also takes an important part in organization-wide changes that aim to better adapt it to the changing industry landscape – a change driven again by digital technology.

Keeping up with new technology, therefore, can be challenging as there is so much new stuff being done all the time. Yet not all new technology is really exciting, according to Jordan. Some of it is like already existing tech. The exciting tech is what is new and different, and can help companies like Symantec do their job better.

A close business relationship with clients is the other thing that helps the company stay ahead of competitors. According to its CIO, Symantec has excelled at crafting close personal relationships with its clients that allows the cybersecurity major to strategize more productively and achieve its goals more easily.

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