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Symantec & Juniper Join Forces

Symantec and Juniper Networks partner, but experts are skeptical about its impact

Security software giant Symantec and networking giant Juniper Networks today unveiled a broad-ranging partnership they say will bring better and more integrated security technology to both sides of the equation. But analysts say the two companies just don't have the weight to truly compete with products that come out of the Cisco/Microsoft Network Access Control partnership announced last week.

Juniper and Symantec plan to jointly develop Unified Threat Management (UTM) products as well as intrusion detection and intrusion prevention technology. The companies also said they will develop standards-based network access control and endpoint compliance tools and will share security and threat research.

The two companies appear to be raising a challenge to the NAC partnership unveiled by Cisco and Microsoft. (See Cisco, Microsoft Join Forces on Security.) "What we're doing goes well beyond endpoint security, which is what the Cisco/Microsoft NAC announcement was about," says John Thompson, chairman and CEO of Symantec. Symantec will add some of its software capabilities to Juniper's switches and appliances, and Juniper will help Symantec deliver security hardware, and both companies will share security data, he observes.

But industry analysts expressed skepticism as to whether Symantec and Juniper, even together, could have much impact on the direction of security technology after Microsoft and Cisco's announcements last week. "This is posturing to dilute Cisco's messaging," says Richard Stiennon, founder of IT-Harvest. "The only productive fallout will be the addition of Symantec anti-virus and anti-spam technology to Juniper appliances."

"Neither Symantec nor Juniper have the stature to drive standards, while both Cisco and Microsoft do," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, an IT consultancy. "This partnership, on the surface, doesn't seem to address the execution problems that both companies seem to have in this space."

While the Symantec/Juniper partnership might not change the face of the industry, it could lead to some help for both companies, Enderle says. For example, Symantec needs assistance with hardware and appliances following its recent announcement that it will pull out of those spaces, he says. And Juniper's switching technology could benefit from Symantec's security software capabilities, observers say.

The two companies gave few details on the future fruits of their partnership, but Scott Kriens, chairman and CEO of Juniper joint products will emerge in the next 90 to 120 days. Symantec's Thompson also indicated that Symantec may work Juniper hardware into its managed service offerings.

Both companies said the arrangement is non-exclusive. Juniper will continue to support other security vendors on its switching and security devices, and Symantec will offer its software to other hardware vendors, the executives say. The companies gave no financial details for the deal, other than to say there will be "some additional licensing" of technology "in the very near term."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR)
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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