Symantec is making two sets of related announcements, with the key link between them being the general availability of the ICD Exchange, which enhances shared intelligence between Symantec and third-party vendors.
Today Symantec is making a series of announcements that extend both the breadth and scope of the capabilities of their ICD [Integrated Cyber Defense] platform. They have announced the general availability of ICD Exchange, a universal data exchange that shares events, intelligence and actions across Symantec and third-party systems, in order to improve visibility for security teams. They are announcing the availability of ICD Manager, which has shared management capabilities to provide unified visibility into threats, policies and incidents. They also have unveiled their Data Loss Prevention 15.5 software. On the partnering side, they have announced a new “Innovation Playground” program within their TIPP [Technology Integration Partner Program] specifically for startups. They have also indicated that over 120 vendors are now part of TIPP, and are showcasing the extent and significance of some of those partnerships today at an online news event.
“This whole thing is three years in the making,” said Peter Doggart, Vice President of Business Development at Symantec, whose job responsibilities include ownership of TIPP. “When Blue Coat came over to Symantec, at that time we saw a problem brewing in our industry around the volume of attacks, and the way businesses have been fighting then with fragmented tools which are too complex to bring together. You have 25-plus cyber tools in any one business. which is just mad.”
Doggart said that while the industry as a whole has been shifting to a platform way of things, Symantec has taken a leadership position.
“When we started this three years ago, we needed to address a philosophical change to meet what was needed,” Doggart said. “The question was – how do we become open. It was critical that we moved to an open standards approach to cybersecurity, and part of my direct role was developing strategic relationships and alliances around this, making sure the go-to-market fit is correct.
Doggart said that Symantec made sure that their move to open standards was full and without reservations.
“Symantec is making this platform shift, but being very open about it,” he emphasized. “We have a platform-centric approach that works across endpoints and applications, and we have an open approach to integration. Given that others have done this as well, we looked at this very carefully. You have to make this stuff simple. It has to be free. It has to be open standards. We added in a lot of capability to extract and forward and filter data, so that partners are able to integrate within five days. That was the objective, to make it that easy and reduce that complexity. We have done that with ICD Exchange, that goes to general release today.”
The ICD platform, unveiled in 2017, was the culmination of these efforts, and Symantec has continued to build out its capabilities.
“It was a monumental effort to do this,” Doggart said. “We filled in the gaps with acquisitions where we didn’t have the capacity ourselves, with Fireglass, Skycure, Appthority, Javelin, and most recently, Luminate. The companies we acquired were already part of TIPP, so were already integrated within the platform.”
Symantec is now announcing that about 120 vendor partners are now signed up with TIPP – up from about 90 the last time they made the numbers public.
“It’s not a numbers game for me,” Doggart said. “It’s about how to work with them effectively, so that as we go to market through channel, they get a prepackaged solution that works. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort to put all these pieces together.”
AWS, Box, IBM Security, Microsoft, Oracle, ServiceNow and Splunk are among the vendor partners being highlighted.
“We’ve made sure that we focus on depths in all 120 cases,” Doggart stressed. “It’s not about just having an integration. Ultimately, it is how do you get to the point where the portfolios automatically work together without user intervention. That’s the next level, and it’s a much deeper level. We aren’t there yet, but we are already working on it, putting the pieces now to get there. And if we can get there, we have all won.”
In addition to the ICD Exchange, Symantec is also releasing the complementary ICD Manager.
“It provides shared management responsibility on top of the platform,” Doggart said. “It is designed to suck up information from all sources and give a unified view, to help reduce complexity. It goes hand-in hand with ICD Exchange, as part of a platform-centric approach.”
Symantec is also announcing the expansion of TIPP to startups with the TIPP Innovation Playground.
“The Innovation Playground is specifically designed for startups,” Doggart said. They can come to our Innovation Days, get introduced to partners, and we let them work on our platform.”
Doggart said that startups don’t usually fit into regular TIPP because they aren’t in revenue stage, and when selling, they are often still in the direct proof-of-concept stage.
“When we scorecard for TIPP, the channel go-to-market is a big part of that,” he stated. “So this is an adjunct program. But we work with them, and get closer to them, and as grow they can mature into TIPP, or we can monetize them or look at acquisition down the road.”