Symantec's Norton Line Lands On Azure Cloud, A Huge Win For Microsoft

Symantec choosing Azure to host its ubiquitous line of consumer security products represents not only a big customer win for Microsoft's public cloud but also a tremendous endorsement of its data security capabilities, partners told CRN.

Through the deal revealed Monday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based cybersecurity company will deliver its Norton line of antivirus and data protection products from Azure to millions of customers.

Symantec also plans to bring its e-commerce system for purchasing Norton software online to Azure, the company said.

[Related: Partners: Microsoft Acquisition Of Hexadite Is Step In Right Direction For Security Push]

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The deal offers a major validation of Azure's security and privacy capabilities by a "leading, highly recognizable security service and product vendor," said Ben Mead, cloud and infrastructure lead at Credera, a Dallas-based Azure partner.

"As more and more services and security solutions are being delivered via hybrid cloud platforms that involve AWS, Azure and Google," Mead told CRN, "I feel it's telling that Symantec chose to bet on the cloud provider that has been the most vocal and visible proponent of customer and data privacy in the world."

Reed Wiedower, CTO at Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner New Signature, said Symantec's decision, with the obvious security considerations that went into it, will help Microsoft partners sell cloud to large enterprises.

"We continue to see customers who claim, incorrectly, that the cloud is less secure than their own on-premises equipment," Wiedower told CRN.

But "having Microsoft and Symantec, two industry titans when it comes to security, standardize on Azure, really provides customers confidence that they should move their own workloads over," he said. "The more customers hear that large enterprises are shifting to the cloud, the easier it is for us to explain why it should be the default for all modern organizations."

Collaboration between Microsoft and Symantec goes back years. But the latest escalation of their relationship comes as Symantec looks to adopt hybrid cloud strategies to improve agility and performance while lowering operating costs.

That hybrid strategy should drive home to other large vendors the danger of maintaining a legacy mindset, Wiedower added.

"Symantec’s competitors are likely going to be late to the party," he told CRN.

Sheila Jordan, Symantec senior vice president and CIO, said in a prepared statement, that the company's "focus is helping organizations, governments and people secure their most important data, wherever it lives."

"The cloud is key to our strategy to accelerate innovation internally, streamline operations, and ultimately protect and empower our customers in the digital age. Microsoft has been a strong partner and has helped us to painlessly execute our strategy, far exceeding its commitment to ensuring our success," Jordan said.

The Norton portfolio serves more than 50 million consumers around the world, according to Symantec.

In adopting Azure, the company migrated 105 digital safety capabilities, from advanced threat detection to reputation scoring. Engineers from both companies collaborated to create new cloud services and implement tracking of critical metrics involving adoption and utilization.