Symantec Partners Wait And See

It may be too early to tell, but some Symantec partners have already begun to express concern.

Symantec on Sept. 17 announced it is buying @stake, a well-heeled Cambridge, Mass.-based solution provider that sells security services and risk assessment under its own SmartRisk product line. Twenty-four hours later, Symantec said it had struck a deal to buy LIRIC Associates, a security-savvy United Kingdom-based consultancy that caters to complex, high-end customers. Terms of the two deals were not disclosed, but both should be finalized sometime in October, according to Symantec, Cupertino, Calif.

The plan is to integrate both @stake and LIRIC into Symantec's global professional services organization, a Symantec spokesperson said.

The thought of Symantec ramping up additional professional services via acquisitions rather than organically has longtime Symantec services partners such as Bill Moore, business development manager at Tribridge, Tampa, Fla., more than a bit worried.

Sponsored post

"I'm concerned about it," Moore said. "Symantec has told us they want to increase professional services, but for all I know @stake would be competing against us. It remains to be seen. I've made inquires into the Symantec folks trying to get clarification on what's going to happen with the @stake acquisition, but we've just traded voice mails. We need to talk, right now."

Security services providers that rarely compete with Symantec's professional services organization seemed less threatened by the two acquisitions. "I don't think we would run into them more than once per year," said Will Henderson, CEO of Sword and Shield Enterprise Security, Knoxville, Tenn.

However, Tribridge's Moore says his company has more to lose. "My guess is that the acquisitions are for [situations] when a Fortune 50 company comes to Symantec and says, 'We don't want a Tribridge, we want a multimillion-dollar services firm.' "

Symantec customers have been asking the vendor to expand the capacity of its global professional services group, the spokesperson said, but did not provide details as to how the customer-facing resources of @stake and LIRIC would be assigned within Symantec. Existing of @stake and LIRIC customers would have the same points of contact within Symantec, the spokesperson said, adding the acquisitions are complementary to Symantec's existing professional services partners, which would be able to subcontract the security application integration services of @stake and LIRIC.

Six top 10 financial institutions, four large independent software companies and seven top 10 telecommunications carriers are @stake customers, Symantec said. Cassington, England-based LIRIC has been one of the United Kingdom's top dogs in IT security and telecommunications consultancy since its formation in 1994.

MATT VILLANO and KRISTEN KENEDY contributed to this story.