Symantec's Salem: Cloud was game-changer for us

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Symantec's CEO outlines why 03 is a critical initiative, and how cloud and virtualization changed business opportunities

For Symantec CEO Enrique Salem, the three critical issues facing IT leaders today -- and the three biggest opportunities for his 'information protection' company -- are cloud, virtualization, and the consumerization of technology. In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, InfoWorld Editor-in-Chief Eric Knorr and IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant caught up with Salem shortly after his RSA Conference keynote describing Symantec's cloud-focused security strategy, dubbed 03.

In this discussion, Salem outlines why 03 is such a critical initiative for the company, and discusses how cloud and virtualization change the security threat landscape and the business opportunities for Symantec. He also talks about why Symantec isn't overly concerned about Intel's purchase of McAfee and what it means for Symantec to be on its own in a market with competitors like Intel, IBM, Cisco Systems, and other giants. Salem also outlines what's ahead for Symantec's non-security businesses in storage and systems management, and how collaboration and social networking will change everything for organizations in the years ahead.

Q: What is 03 and why is it such a critical initiative for Symantec?

A: In computing, there are big transitions that happen every few years. We are in that next transition. I predict that the five years starting from 2010 to 2015 will have the most significant technological change that we've seen in the last 25 years. The reason I say that is that we are going to see a big move to the next generation of what I call distributed computing. Cloud computing to me is just the next generation of distributed computing; it is taking distributed computing one step further. I call it hyper-distributed computing.

What you don't want is different systems in IT for each of these different things. You don't want one system for your on-premises technologies, a different set [of tools] for mobile computing, another set of systems for dealing with cloud-based services. That is a nightmare. Also, IT is always trying to be more efficient with costs.

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