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IBM Security: Big Business for Big Blue

By May 5, 2015Article

Technology giant IBM Corp. has ascended to the top of the cybersecurity industry through a combination of organic growth and numerous acquisitions over the past decade – and combined all of it into their now-called “IBM Security” business, and a clarified message to the market. IBM Security is listed at #8 on the Cybersecurity 500 list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies. 

IBM’s most recent cybersecurity acquisitions included cloud security companies Lighthouse Security Group and CrossIdeas last summer and Trusteer in August of 2013. Looking back over the past 10 years, IBM’s notable security acquisitions include security intelligence vendor Q1 Labs in 2011, security and IT automation vendor BixFix in 2010, source code analysis vendor Ounce Labs in 2009, single sign-on vendor Encentuate in 2008, security software testing vendor WatchFire, infosecurity consulting firm Consul Risk Management in 2007, intrusion detection vendor Internet Security Systems (ISS) in 2006, identity management vendors Language Analysis Systems in 2006 and Systems Research & Development in 2005. 

IBM stitched its numerous security product brands and security professional services together into a single cohesive and massive cybersecurity business. Gartner recently valued IBM’s security business at over $1 billion; that would make IBM Security one of the top three cybersecurity companies globally if they were a pure-play company in that space. Late last year, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said IBM has a clear strategy. “I can’t underscore enough – security,” she stated. 

Real-time analytics required 

“IBM is ushering in an intelligence-driven era of security with our clients,” says Brendan Hannigan, general manager at IBM Security. “With the rate, pace and sophistication of cyberattacks continuing to grow exponentially, security has become a big data problem. Real-time analytics are required as the foundation of today’s security strategy. IBM partners with our clients across their C-suite and line of business to develop integrated and comprehensive analytics-driven protection strategies.” 

Hannigan adds, “We are outpacing the competition because we help clients safeguard the full spectrum of a risk framework – people, data, applications and infrastructure – by deploying the industry’s broadest portfolio of security consulting, services and software. Our offerings and capabilities range from protection against advanced threats, to securing a client’s most sensitive and important assets, to solutions for cloud and mobile computing that enable innovation without increasing risk.” 

IBM’s big data analytics doctrine on cybersecurity seems to be right on the money. There has been much speculation that security will become the killer app for big data analytics. The big data and analytics market will reach $125 billion worldwide in 2015, according to research firm IDC. Big data analytics tools will be the first line of defense, combining machine learning, text mining and ontology modeling to provide holistic and integrated security threat prediction, detection, and deterrence and prevention programs, according to recent predictions by The International Institute of Analytics (IIA). 

IBM’s next-gen biz trending up 

IBM reported Q1 2015 revenue of $19.6 billion for the quarter, $100 million less than analysts had predicted and down 12 percent year to year, according to Forbes. IBM’s cloud business saw growth of 60 percent, and Cloud-as-a-Service took in $3.8 billion in revenue. IBM’s business analytics was up 12 percent. 

It appears IBM’s future success is tied to next-generation technologies. Considering IBM missed on revenue in Q1 2015 for its eighth of nine quarters in a row – even with its cloud and analytics businesses trending up, we expect to hear a lot more about IBM’s security business in the latter part of this year and in 2016. 

The worldwide cybersecurity industry is defined by market sizing estimates that range from $71 billion in 2014 to $155+ billion by 2019. It will be interesting to see how much of that Big Blue grabs. 

Steve Morgan is founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures and editor-in-chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report and the Cybersecurity 500 list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies. Follow Steve on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.









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