Symantec Corp. and Juniper Networks Tuesday said they had formed a partnership that takes advantage of their expertise on both sides of corporate networks.

Scott Kriens, chairman and CEO of Juniper, said the agreement is designed to integrate their approaches to security management.

“We see the network from the inside out. Symantec sees not only from the outside in but across the networks. . . . Without the visibility, you’re simply waiting for something that may have happened next door to happen to you,” he said during a teleconference.

The companies will jointly develop unified threat management solutions and intrusion protection systems. They will rely on Juniper’s existing product set in those areas and Symantec will abandon any work it has done to date on similar technology, said Symantec chairman and CEO John Thompson.

Symantec’s previously attempts to create UTM appliances – those that integrate a range of security features like gateway anti-virus and firewall into a single unit – may have foundered due to the number of vendors already in that space, said IDC Canada Ltd. analyst Joe Greene. By teaming up with an established player like Juniper, Symantec will gain an automatic profile in the market. Similarly, Juniper will be able to capitalize on a name-brand like Symantec.

The advantage to the end user community may be the convenience of buying a range of security products from one source, said Greene. “It simplifies things for a lot of end users. Presumably (Juniper and Symantec) will work together to ensure that their products become unified enough that they can manage them from one tool rather than several tools. That’s the beauty of unified management.”

Security threats are becoming more frequent and more complex, necessitating a partnered approach, said Thompson.

“Invariably, the landscape changes about every 12 to 18 months and certainly over the last few months we’ve seen not just a rise in the number of threats, but also the challenge of responding to those threats more rapidly,” said Thompson.

He said attacks are being carried out in a more “stealth-like” manner, creating the need for a more network-centric approach to stopping them.

Thompson has previously alluded to the accelerated pace of threats, referring to them as “zero-day” attacks. “The average span of time between the discovery of a vulnerability has collapsed from six months to six days,” said Thompson when he spoke at a Toronto engagement last year. He warned that the possibility of a vulnerability and its exploitation in the same day was imminent.

Thompson said that no thought was given to actually merging Symantec and Juniper, claiming that Symantec has been “fully occupied with the work we have had to do over the last year with merging Veritas.”

Symantec bought storage specialist Veritas for US$13.5 billion in 2004.

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