Endpoint/Device Security, Enterprise

Symantec: Shrinking Revenues, But Growing Endpoint Security Momentum?

Symantec's revenues are shrinking while some cybersecurity rivals are growing rapidly. Still, CEO Gregory Clark sounds confident about the company's business direction -- particularly when it comes to endpoint security software in the enterprise. Plus, Wall Street is applauding the company's latest financial results and business outlook.

Symantec revenues were $1.18 billion for the three months ended September 2018 -- down from the $1.24 billion the company generated in the corresponding quarter last year. The company also had an $8 million net loss for the quarter, though that was better than the $12 million net loss in the quarter last year.

The results beat Wall Street's expectations -- a sign that investors believe in Clark's overall direction and strategy for the company. And Clark delivered an upbeat assessment during the company's earnings call yesterday. Despite intense competition, "it is important to remember that the scale of our enterprise security business is unmatched in the industry," he asserted. "We have 86% of the Fortune Global 500 as customers. Our solution stops over 140 million threats every day. We operate nine global threat response centers with over 3,800 researchers and engineers across Symantec."

Symantec Endpoint Security Business: Signs of Progress

When analysts pressed Clark about the company's enterprise endpoint security business, he conceded that upstarts in the market -- but pointed to anecdotal wins and Symantec's advances in artificial intelligence.

Symantec CEO Greg Clark
Symantec CEO Greg Clark

"I think the endpoint is a hotly contested environment," Clark conceded. As we're all aware, in cyber defense there's a lot of start-up companies and heavily funded venture-backed organizations that are chipping away at it. We are pleased with our product effectiveness. We have been rated as the best, not just on the size of our business through ability to execute, but also in the vision side, we have also been rated the best by Gartner in the last period on endpoints. And we are very effective in the enterprise context around protecting against malware in the endpoint, whether it be through traditional signature-based detection and prevention technologies as well as our AI. Our AI has been extremely powerful in detecting and preventing cyberattacks and so we think we are competing well there."

Symantec also is pleased with its endpoint renewal rates with customers, though Clark didn't get into specific customer retention statistics.

Partner Program: In a potential missed opportunity, Symantec executives failed to mention channel partners and MSPs during the earnings call -- though Clark offered a generic comment on the company's renewed partner focus.

Symantec Business Evolution

After a late start in the cloud-centric cybersecurity market, Symantec has been trying to reinvent itself through organic R&D along with mergers and acquisitions. Clark joined the company and moved into the CEO seat when Symantec acquired Blue Coat in June 2016. Next up, the company acquired Lifelock for $2.3 billion in November 2016.

Still, multiple upstarts -- including AlienVault (recently acquired by AT&T), Carbon Black, Cylance and Crowd Strike -- have been gaining ground in the market. Plus, security operations center (SOC) as a service providers like Arctic Wolf Networks are striving to engage MSPs. Most of those companies are generating at least double-digit percentage revenue growth each year, MSSP Alert believes.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.