Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

5/20/2010
07:29 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Symantec Snags VeriSign for $1.28 Billion

Symantec yesterday announced that it has signed an agreement to buy VeriSign's identity, authentication, and SSL certificate businesses. That essentially gets VeriSign out of the security business, but what does Symantec really get out of the deal?

Symantec yesterday announced that it has signed an agreement to buy VeriSign's identity, authentication, and SSL certificate businesses. That essentially gets VeriSign out of the security business, but what does Symantec really get out of the deal?The acquisition will help Symantec to make a stronger push into both the identity management and mobile computing trends necessary to secure cloud computing and the continued consumerization of data consumption. It's also a continuation on Symantec's ongoing shopping list, as reported by InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves in his story earlier today:

In trying to provide one-stop shopping to customers, Symantec has been on a buying spree. In late April, the company announced that it would buy privately held PGP and GuardianEdge for a total of $370 million in cash. The purchase, set to close this quarter, is expected improve Symantec's position in the data encryption market, which is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2013, according to IDC.
I spoke, right after the acquisition was confirmed by Symantec, with Scott Crawford, managing research director at Enterprise Management Associates and here is one of the points he made in an e-mail:

The deal is good for Symantec, which definitely needs this technology in order to solidify its focus on information-centric security, security from and for cloud computing and hosted environments, and identity-linked concerns. Identity is fundamental to recognizing legitimate resources and differentiating who has authorized access to what.

Crawford sees the pieces of the VeriSign products and services fit into Symantec's product puzzle much the way I do. In public clouds company's don't control the infrastructure or data, so encrypting data in the cloud is vital. But it's certainly no silver bullet. While SSL certificates can help to make certain the connections of people, applications, and systems are legitimate. And strong authentication is just a vital as ever as more remote resources are available than ever before.

So it's about filling some obvious product gaps in Symantec's abilities so the company can adapt to the changing ways IT services are used and data consumed.

Crawford acknowledges that all of these areas are far from Symantec's wheelhouse of threat defense. And the folks at Securosis wrapped up Symantec's deal risks much better than I could:

• Integration risk: As we've mentioned before, Symantec's forte has been doing deals, not doing deals well. And trying to integrate the encryption companies at the same time threatens to stretch an already thin management team way too thin.

• Bundling risk: It's not like anyone has really tried to bundle SSL certs or tokens with anything else. It's always been a standalone business. And without some distribution leverage, they can't make this deal pay.

• Incumbent risk: VeriSign was the big dog in SSL, but in enterprise authentication they've largely struggled. Which makes this an unusual deal for Symantec, which tends to overpay for market leadership. The question is whether Symantec's channel is willing to replace RSA, which may not be a stretch given EMC's general channel unfriendliness.

• Whole product risk: Symantec shouldn't stop at authentication, but should use this as a platform for building a full identity offering. So that means looking at provisioning (Courion) and Federation (Ping Identity), or perhaps even another bold move to take Novell's identity business.

And, to put a really fine point on it, Symantec has a sketchy (to be kind) history of acquisitions, from storage vendor Veritas to security services firm @Stake, to a slew of security technology that seems to have faded into the background within Symantec's fold.

Of course, such waves of consolidation are completely normal in the tumultuous IT security market. And, in the long run, provides some daylight for nimble new players to enter and compete.

For my security, technology, and business observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-2916
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
qtnx 0.9 stores non-custom SSH keys in a world-readable configuration file. If a user has a world-readable or world-executable home directory, another local system user could obtain the private key used to connect to remote NX sessions.
CVE-2019-12757
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), prior to 14.2 RU2 & 12.1 RU6 MP10 and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) prior to 12.1 RU6 MP10d (12.1.7510.7002), may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt t...
CVE-2019-12758
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to an unsigned code execution vulnerability, which may allow an individual to execute code without a resident proper digital signature.
CVE-2019-12759
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) and Symantec Mail Security for MS Exchange (SMSMSE), prior to versions 14.2 RU2 and 7.5.x respectively, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software applicat...
CVE-2019-18372
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software application to gain elevated access to resources that are normally protected from an application or user.