Symantec Boosts Tech Integrations With Data Exchange, Startup Help


Symantec has infused its Integrated Cyber Defense (ICD) platform with new related to shared intelligence and shared management across multiple technology components.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based platform security vendor said the ICD Exchange will make it easier for other software providers such as Box, ServiceNow, Microsoft and Anomali to quickly integrate and obtain more guidance around the data they can use from Symantec, according to Art Gilliland, EVP and GM enterprise products.

The ICD Exchange standardized APIs, Gilliland said, making it possible for technology partners to develop and deliver value to customers faster. With the ICD Exchange, Gilliland said products and systems from different vendors end up using the same language to understand what's happening in an environment.

[Related: Symantec Buys Startup Luminate Security To Aid Application Defense]

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"Moving toward a platform that's already pre-integrated and works together is something our customers are driving us to do," Gilliland told CRN.

Symantec started building the ICD 2.5 years ago following its $4.65 billion acquisition of Blue Coat Systems, and now has more than 120 technology partners building or delivering more than 250 new applications and services that integrate with the ICD platform.

The ICD Exchange creates a taxonomy for how security information is going to be exchanged, which Gilliland said could only be done by a vendor like Symantec that has a broad portfolio and understands all of the threats facing the endpoint, network and cloud. The tool opens up and exposes Symantec's interfaces to the broader technology partner community to drive tighter integrations, Gilliland said.

Partners are not only able to sell Symantec more effectively thanks to the ICD Exchange, Gilliland said, but can also enhance their position with other technology vendors like Anomali, Splunk or ServiceNow by driving and selling offerings that easily integrate with Symantec. Symantec was already seeing lots of cross-sell activity with established vendors like ServiceNow and Splunk, according to Gilliland.

The ICD Exchange will make it easier and faster for startups like Anomali to get into the channel, Gilliland said, and easier for solution providers to increase their wallet share with the customer base they already have. ISVs and integration partners will have access to the ICD Exchange at no additional cost, Gilliland said.

Symantec has additionally rolled out an "Innovation Playground" that provides startups with access to the company's platform through APIs, copies of the product to help with selling, and engineering resources on the back-end, Gilliland said. Startups will also gain access to customer innovation days, Gilliland said, where Symantec clients are brought together and exposed to new technologies.

The Innovation Playground will endeavor to make testing affordable for smaller companies, with certain technologies and companies let in for free, Gilliland said. Startups often end up needing more support to achieve successful integrations since they frequently lack the lab space to test the connections on their own, according to Gilliland.

Gaining access to Symantec's resources through the Innovation Playground will help facilitate faster and more functional integrations, Gilliland said. If a startup has gone through the Innovation Playground, Gilliland said solution providers can be confident that the use case has been well-integrated and will work with all tested platforms.

All told, Gilliland said partners can make their customers safer, save them money, and become a more strategic advisor by turning to the ICD platform.

"Partners that adopt and embrace this platform shift and help customers migrate to that will actually drive a lot more value for themselves," Gilliland said.

Figuring out which indicators to incorporate into threat intelligence controls is difficult and requires a lot of discernment and effort, according to Ken Dickey, VP of business development at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Cadre Information Security. The ICD Exchange should make it easier for data to be exchanged between components, he said, allowing threat intelligence to be used more intelligently in the network.

"Just dumping everything [all of the intelligence] isn't the best approach," Dickey said.

As far as the Innovation Playground is concerned, Dickey said a lot of startups come out of stealth mode without a lot of practical experience integrating their offering into a larger ecosystem. The Innovation Playground will enable startups to do real integrations with production-ready products, Dickey said, making it possible for emerging vendors to actually interoperate as part of a greater ecosystem.

"You're not going to win this battle by building a bunch of silos around product sets," Dickey said.