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IBM Builds Out Security Response With Resilient Systems Acquisition

IBM has joined the cyber-security acquisition frenzy with its own buy of Resilient Systems. Big Blue gains the company's incident response platform and its well-known CTO Bruce Schneier.

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IBM's Monday acquisition of Resilient Systems, a transaction reportedly valued at $100 million, marks yet another deal in what many in the industry view as a consolidation in IT security.

From IBM's deal announced this week, to FireEye's buys of Invotas International Corp. and iSIGHT Partners, to Cisco's acquisition of Lancope in October, bigger security companies are adding new security capabilities by buying smaller companies.

[Where does Microsoft stand when it comes to encryption and privacy? Read Microsoft's Top Lawyer Voices Support For Encryption At RSA.]

IBM's deal to buy Resilient absolutely fits that pattern. IBM has identified security as one of four "strategic imperatives" for the company going forward -- specialties that the company expects will provide a strong growth rate and make up for declining revenues in other core areas of the company.

(Image: Henrik5000/iStockphoto)

(Image: Henrik5000/iStockphoto)

While some areas of security are maturing and experiencing commoditization, including end-point protection platforms and consumer technology, others are growing, according to industry analyst firm Gartner.

One area of strength is SIEM (security information and event management), and IBM has ranked at the top right of the Leaders quadrant in Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant report for SIEM released in July 2015. In the report, Gartner said that the SIEM cyber-security market continues to be strong, driven by threat management, and that in 2014 this market experienced a growth rate of 14%.

IBM's SIEM technology is called QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, and Resilient's incident response platform offers complementary capabilities. Resilient's platform automates and orchestrates the processes needed when dealing with the aftermath of a security incident -- from a breach to a lost device, IBM said in its announcement of the acquisition.

The deal also brings one of the foremost security thought leaders into the IBM tent. Bruce Schneier, a security and privacy specialist, author, and cryptographer, is also the CTO of Resilient. He will join IBM as part of the deal, along with Resilient's other 100 employees.

Schneier confirmed the IBM deal in a post on his blog this week:

IBM is an ideal partner for Resilient and one that I have been quietly hoping would acquire it for over a year now. IBM has a unique combination of security products and services, and an existing organization that will help Resilient immeasurably. It's a good match.

Schneier noted that last year Resilient integrated with IBM's SIEM system, and now says that he believes that's what attracted IBM to Resilient:

Resilient has the platform that makes QRadar actionable. Conversely, QRadar makes Resilient's platform more powerful. The products are each good separately, but really good together.

IBM security vice president Caleb Barlow told InformationWeek via email that the addition of Resilient Systems makes IBM's security offering even more comprehensive.

"We have built out the broadest security intelligence portfolio in the enterprise security market, with much of our investment in the protection and detection markets," he wrote. "The planned addition of Resilient Systems, combined with our new IBM X-Force Incident Response team and services, marks a new chapter in our strategy with a major focus on incident response."

Barlow describes the Resilient Systems platform together with IBM's other security intelligence and incident forensics capabilities as enabling "an end-to-end, orchestrated process for addressing security incidents."

Customers can expect integrations of Resilient's capabilities across the entire IBM Security portfolio, he said.

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Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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