There are many ways to skin a cat. Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) is getting its kicks from consumer sales while the enterprise market takes a breather. Next up: cloud computing solutions for security and storage.

Symantec's third quarter saw sales gain a measly 2% over the year-ago period to land at $1.55 billion, while non-GAAP earnings slid from $0.42 per share to $0.40 per share. I'm looking at non-GAAP numbers for the bottom line because of a one-time $0.10 tax gain per share in the just-reported period and a $7 billion goodwill writedown a year ago.

The consumer segment was both the biggest and the best-performing division for Symantec. Whether this is a general industry trend or a situation unique to Symantec will remain a mystery until McAfee (NYSE:MFE) reports earnings on Feb. 11, but you could look at recent reports from enterprise IT providers like Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) and infer that business-class software buyers may taking a longer lunch break than consumers.

Symantec should come back strong in the business-oriented markets once corporate IT budgets reset to pre-inferno levels -- security and data management will always rank near the top of any responsible IT director's priority list.

While waiting for that rebound to happen, Symantec is keeping busy with cloud computing projects. The company sells hosted services to more than 1,800 customers today, including several multimillion-dollar deals. Symantec offers data protection services for the Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) EC2 cloud service, and 11 million regular consumers are using 45 petabytes (that’s … a lot) of Symantec's online backup storage.

Symantec is taking an early walk in the clouds, which is simply a smart strategy for future-proofing the business.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Symantec is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.