Symantec-Brightmail deal will make enterprise IT decisions easier, say analysts

The acquisition of antispam supplier Brightmail by security and utility software supplier Symantec is viewed by some industry...

The acquisition of antispam supplier Brightmail by security and utility software supplier Symantec is viewed by some industry analysts and competitors as a good move which will benefit enterprise IT users.

The $370m (£207m) deal will be welcomed by enterprise IT managers because it could make their messaging security decisions easier, they said. 

"What corporate customers are looking for is a good solution from a supplier they know well," said David Marshak, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group. "From that standpoint, I think this is a good thing." 

David Daniels, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said that by bringing together messaging security technologies from Symantec and Brightmail, the installation and upkeep of the systems will be easier for IT staffs.

"When you think of the maintenance of these products, you have to update them and a user can now do it at once, making it easier for the installed base," Daniels said. 

Rebecca Wetteman, an analyst at Nucleus Research, said the deal also makes sense because the two companies have had a relationship since 2000, when Symantec bought an 11% equity stake in Brightmail. 

"Symantec already works with Brightmail from an integration perspective, so this should be a pretty reasonable move from an internal perspective for them to work together more closely," Wetteman said.

She predicted continued consolidation in the marketplace, because an "integrated approach to spam and the entire e-mail security [issue] makes sense". 

The acquisition is "something that we've seen coming for some time - a greater ownership, if not total ownership, of Brightmail by Symantec", said Robert Mahowald, an analyst at IDC. 

"[Symantec has] had a lot of influence in Brightmail's business" since making its investment in 2000, he said, noting that Brightmail will now have a global reach it never had on its own.

"Symantec... has a great distribution channel that Brightmail couldn't hope to match," he added.

Another advantage for Brightmail is that while the enterprise antispam market has finite potential on its own, Brightmail can now be seen with Symantec as a player in the larger and more lucrative overall messaging security market.

"This lets Brightmail move into a much larger messaging security space," Mahowald said. "Customers are not going to be as enchanted with point antispam solutions as they [will be] with larger strategic messaging products." 

Several industry competitors also praised the acquisition for what it says about the strength of the IT market. 

Chris Kraft, senior security analyst at anti-virus and security supplier Sophos, said the same desire to offer customers one place for all their messaging security answers was the catalyst for Sophos acquiring content filtering supplier ActiveState last September.
"It means better service for the market," Kraft said. "It has for Sophos customers, and I expect it will for Symantec customers as well. 

"I think it's a good indicator of what we've seen as an emerging trend that organisations of all sizes are looking to a single-source supplier for their threat protection," Kraft said. 

Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld

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