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Juniper Networks, Symantec Band Together

The somewhat symbiotic relationship that now exists between Juniper Networks and Symantec nearly resembles a merger, the CEOs of the two vendors agreed.

Network equipment maker Juniper, Sunnyvale, Calif., and security product vendor Symantec, Cupertino, Calif., unveiled a partnership earlier this month to build and deliver integrated security solutions to enterprise customers.

The alliance is aimed at creating an end-to-end security architecture through tighter integration of Symantec's client security software and Juniper's extensive network install base, said Juniper Chairman and CEO Scott Kriens. "Better security intelligence, faster response and comprehensive coverage" is the crux of the Juniper-Symantec partnership, he said.

The pact makes Symantec more dependent on Juniper for the delivery of unified threat management (UTM) hardware solutions, said Symantec Chairman and CEO John Thompson.

Symantec said in August that it would exit the UTM business and stop selling UTM products such as its Symantec Gateway Security 5600 Series. It will continue selling PC-based hardware products. With the alliance, Symantec will direct partners to Juniper for network-centric products, Thompson said.

"We are going to get out of the custom hardware development business for UTM-related technologies," Thompson said. "We will rely on our partner Juniper to deliver the hardware capability [for UTMandAmp;#93;."

Symantec typically continues to support products for three years after announcing they have been end-lifed, said Jeremy Burton, group president of security and data management at Symantec.

The vendor has not yet announced an end-life date for the Symantec Gateway Security 5600, Burton said, but effective immediately, it will recommend its partners go with Juniper UTM solutions, he said. "I anticipate some of the partners will move [to Juniper]; I anticipate some of the partners will not move," he said.

Symantec's UTM products weren't faring all that well anyway, so making Juniper the go-to UTM dealer in partnership with Symantec makes a good deal of sense, said Andy Segal, president of Vandis, an Albertson, N.Y.-based reseller of both Symantec and Juniper products.

"We are not getting the kind of traction I think [Symantec] wanted to have with those products," Segal said. "They were not getting the market penetration they needed to have for [UTMandAmp;#93; to make sense as an ongoing business for them."

In the next 90 days to 120 days, the first results of the partnership should begin appearing, Thompson said. Plans call for the two companies to develop intrusion-prevention systems, integrated access control and endpoint compliance solutions and other products.

Juniper's J-Security Team and Symantec's Global Intelligence Network also will collaborate to deliver security and threat research, and the two vendors will participate in joint sales and marketing initiatives.

The alliance isn't exclusive, and Symantec and Juniper channel partners can continue to sell and deploy security and networking products from other vendors, Thompson said. Continued third-party interoperability will be achieved by continued compliance with the Trusted Network Connect standard, a set of open access-control specifications for endpoints connecting to a network, he said. Still, the performance of Symantec and Juniper security solutions will be significantly enhanced when combined, he added.

The thinking behind the partnershipthat security running client-through-network-to-client makes the most senseis spot on, Segal said. "This clearly resolves the question of, 'How do I deploy Symantec software and information products?' " he said. "And I think it resolves an issue for Juniper, which is, 'OK, I have this platform, but I need to do more with it than have a firewall. How do I integrate my antivirus, antispam, URL filtering, etc,?' "

Financial terms of the partnership weren't disclosed. Thompson said a merger of Symantec and Juniper wasn't deemed necessary to accomplish the companies' goals.

"I think it's a partnership that is certainly a statement of our times in our marketplace, where collaboration will be the great dividing line for success in this industry," he said.

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