Symantec's value proposition is in providing threat intelligence based on analyzing data, not providing patches and rule sets for security devices, Gartner's Kavanagh told CRN.
"Certainly a midsize or smaller business will be looking for management services to handle all the infrastructure, and that's where Symantec will be at a competitive disadvantage moving forward," Kavanagh said.
Other top-tier providers include Dell SecureWorks, Verizon, IBM, AT&T and Solutionary, according to Gartner.
J.J. Thompson, managing director and CEO of Rook Security, an Indianapolis-based security systems integrator, said he has fielded a call from a Symantec customer that has a service-level agreement commitment with its clients. A disruption would be costly, Thompson said.
"Affected Symantec customers will suffer because they now have to decide to find another MSS or to insource," Thompson said. "If they insource, it's hard to find talented professionals to manage firewalls without introducing unnecessary risk. If they stick with outsourcing, let's hope their contract term fits with their budgeting process."
Executives at other solution providers said the move was likely a way to eliminate costly parts of the business. Firewall management is a low-margin business, said Arthur Hedge, CEO of Castle Ventures, a network security monitoring and log analysis firm that focuses on HP-ArcSight security information event management appliances. Remote management of endpoint protection, which includes diagnosing and cleaning infected PCs, is also a challenge, Hedge said.
"This is all probably for business reasons rather than technical reasons," Hedge said. "The endpoint piece is a good problem to solve for local solution providers because they have feet on the ground to deal with customers at the endpoint."
PUBLISHED DEC. 6, 2013