In 2020, a media company wrote about a company called Symantec. This, despite their 2019 acquisition by Broadcom for $10.7 million, turning it into Symantec by Broadcom. They gleefully laid out the death of Symantec in black and white, parting the seas of the market to usher in all of Symantec’s competitors. “The cybersecurity industry is not prone to cash-cows that can be bled of profits to pay down debt financing. Cybersecurity is driven by innovation, channel development, and customer growth. Private Equity has yet to demonstrate it knows how to do any of those things.” Except they had not bet on the resilience of Symantec, who invested in R&D, hauling innovation after innovation. A conversation with Djamil Jaddoo, Territory Manager, Symantec by Broadcom, and Tharvesh Takoory, Technical Manager, Symantec by Broadcom illuminates their enduring Now, they are here to break the silos and enhance visibility in organisations with their portfolio.
What inspired you to partner with CIO Africa for our 7th Africa Cloud & Security Summit?
We partnered with you because CIO is a leader in the tech space. At the same time, Symantec was bought out by Broadcom Software. We were supposed to do communications around that acquisition, but with the pandemic, this couldn’t happen. We then started a strategy with the new year for Broadcom and for Symantec. Based on CIO’s market reach, and the level of published content published, it made sense to partner.
Broadcom Software talks about tech leadership as part of its identity. What does that mean?
Djamil: It means we need to be able to provide our customers with the security that they need. Security is a serious thing, and it has to be taken with all the seriousness it deserves. We invest a lot in R&D to be on top of the game. It is extremely important that we are always ahead. It is like a cat and mouse race because we are always chasing the bad guys. That is how we have tried to maintain that leadership. There has been a lot of talk that Symantec is dead after the acquisition. This is not true. We are still here with a portfolio of solutions, innovation, and new technologies that we are bringing. We are here. Our existing customers are there, and we are providing them with the solutions they need.
Tharvesh: We see the service security space as a journey. We accompany our customers through the cloud journey in their digital transformation, and then we have many customers that invest in some parts, some bits of security. We are here to complement that. We do technology from the end-point information network identity. We leverage on the existing investment when it comes to technology. When you talk about leadership, we do end-to-end security.
How do you build scalability into your solutions?
Tharvesh: There is a whole lot of work that we do when the customer reaches out to us. We ask about the impact of their investment because many customers have already invested or started to invest in security. And then we investigate what are their pain points and what is lacking. Or maybe they have worked on some project. There are countries that even have government legislation that needs to comply with certain security standards. From there we get to know which technology is the best fit and what they have in mind because we don’t want to overlap because we don’t want our customers to have overlapping products. Our customers need to have global visibility when it comes to security.
Djamil: This is why we have the consultative approach to show that we are progressing with cybersecurity and also, in investments that have the capacity for integration. Cybersecurity costs a lot and that is why we need to have a step-by-step approach keeping in mind that we are protecting the organisation.
Is it ever possible to be ahead of the hackers? They have grown more sophisticated over the years, but the strategy can’t simply be to wait for the latest hack before finding a timely solution.
Djamil: Today, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI), we have the possibility of getting to know all the trends out there. More importantly, we have our Global Intelligence Network, where we leverage our telemetry of what is happening around the world. Say something is happening on the far end of the world. We have time to propagate and protect all our customers based on this intel.
You talk a lot about the customer. What kind of experience would you like for them to have when they engage with your products and portfolio?
Djamil: We want them to have a sense of security, whereby they feel that they are secure and can be in the reality of being secure. There are multiple vectors of security that need to be addressed. When we install security for them, there are independent bodies that verify what has been taking place. The objective for us is to have a happy customer, a secure customer. When they are audited, it proves that the solutions we already placed are giving them the protection that they were looking for.
How do you self-disrupt?
Tharvesh: There are a lot of technologies that we engineer, that we are pioneers of. We are doing R&D and investing in solutions that we introduce such as web isolation, and there are companies that we buy. One of them is a security solution for mobile phones which we bought five years ago. Now we have a unified informed security solution that works on laptops. We take companies, invest more, enhance the technologies, enhance the code behind it and this is how we maintain our leadership position.
As Territory Manager, what have you observed about this region that influences cybersecurity trends?
Djamil: This region is aware of the cybersecurity risks. They know what they want. Previously, we had to come and generate awareness. Today, we gather information here. Everything is accessible. People already know what they need, and the pandemic accelerated the cloud journey, transforming the digital world. There have been disruptions to digitise the way of doing business, the workforce has been split all over the place and it could be any device anywhere. Businesses also need to maintain the same level of security to be safe.
What would you like the CIOs to leave having learned about you?
Djamil: I want them to know that Symantec is here. Things are evolving very rapidly. We are living in a dangerous world. To keep ourselves in business, we need to adapt to the new realities, and we are there to journey with them.
Tharvesh: Symantec is not only an anti-virus company. We offer multiple solutions. Many of the CIOs think of us as only anti-virus. We want to show them what we have. How we have evolved from 2019 till now, and we are still here.