Posted: 4 Min ReadExpert Perspectives

There Are No Heroes: The Industry-Wide Move to Integrated Cyber Defense

The march towards open, integrated security systems is gaining serious momentum

A few weeks ago, Time magazine interviewed Bill Gates about a new book by the late Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons Why We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think). The legendary tech icon and philanthropist called Rosling’s book one of the most important he’s ever read. At one point in the interview, Gates reflected that not only do humans rush to assign blame, but “our instinct to turn people into heroes can also be a barrier to progress.”

I think the same is true for the cyber security industry. It is no exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of an existential battle against a host of malicious adversaries. And so, we tend to look for heroes, too. But too often, our heroes have been products rather than people. We’ve seen a new technology or product as that elusive “cyber silver bullet” that will slay the vampire, once and for all. But we all know it never works out that way.

The good news? The industry has largely come to its senses, and the march towards open, integrated systems is now, in my opinion, unstoppable. That’s what Symantec’s Integrated Cyber Defense platform is all about—unifying cloud and on-premises security to protect against threats and safeguard information across every control point and attack vector. Gates could just as easily have been talking about cyber security when he said, “We miss the progress that’s happening right in front of us when we look for heroes instead of systems. If you want to improve something, look for ways to build better systems.”

Of course, “hero products” are just one part of a multi-faceted problem. Bigger picture, the move to the Cloud has opened up so many incredible possibilities for businesses and end users alike, but it has also turned enterprise cyber security on its head. No more perimeter, data anywhere and everywhere, new control points (which bad guys view as new places to break in) to manage and secure. These seismic shifts—together with “point-product mania”—created multiple fissures in enterprise protections, and our adversaries rushed into the breach. 

Cyber Security As Team Sport

A 2016 research project with cyber security and IT professionals conducted by ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) revealed that with the widespread industry skills shortage, many cyber security staffs simply don’t have the time to learn the nuances of the security technologies they purchase. That means these technologies are rarely used to their full potential.

More specifically, the survey revealed the industry’s turn towards integration, with 81% of survey respondents agreeing with the statement, "Cyber security product integration has become an important consideration of our security procurement criteria,” and 78% agreeing that "the security products my organization buys are regularly qualified on their integration capabilities."

As ESG analyst Jon Oltsik is known to opine, “security is a team sport.” Now more than ever, our customers depend upon us working together for their common good.

An Update on Symantec’s Technology Integration Partner Program (TIPP)

In June 2017, we officially announced the new Symantec Technology Integration Partner Program (#TIPP), with the aim of creating the largest and broadest technology partner eco-system in cyber security. We articulated a few simple, overarching principles to guide the program:

  • Open. No more proprietary systems. Symantec is now, quite literally, “open for business.” All are welcome to work with us.
  • Agile. We must create a system that collectively moves faster than the bad guys.
  • High-value. We set a high-bar for integration partners, looking deliver a powerful force multiplier effect when combined with our platform

Our view was, and remains, that it’s critical that cyber security systems share data and context about what they know, what has been blocked and why, what they have detected as suspicious and so on. The Symantec Integrated Cyber Defense platform, together with TIPP, sets up this framework.

As we near the first anniversary of TIPP, I continue to be blown away by the industry response to the “call for integration.” More than 600 cyber security technology vendors—by my rough math, perhaps a third of the industry—have approached Symantec to be official TIPP partners. We have conducted deep integration with more than 100 of those companies, all with an aim to get to help our customer protect, respond and remediate substantially faster. Take a look here for the latest interactive map of all internal and external partner technology integrations achieved through the TIPP program.

In the broader world of IT, companies have long navigated the complex maze of “coopetition,” partnering where critical for customer ease and convenience while differentiating on unique capabilities and IP.

Cyber Security is no different—except in one critical regard. When it comes to cyber security, the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s not about ease or convenience—it’s about neutralizing potentially devastating attacks that can literally bring a company down.

Watch for much more to come from Symantec in the coming months, as we introduce many new partnerships and integrations designed to help the modern enterprise thwart today’s sophisticated threats and an increasingly determined force of cyber criminals.

Click Here to learn more about Symantec's Technology Integration Partner Program (TIPP)

About the Author

Peter Doggart

VP Business Development, Symantec

Peter Doggart brings 20 years of executive product and marketing management experience from networking and security companies. Prior to Symantec, Doggart ran Business Development at Blue Coat.

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