IBM today announced it will acquire security vendor ISS for approximately $1.3 billion. ISS made its name selling intrusion detection and prevention products, but Big Blue snapped up the company for its managed security services portfolio. ISS will remain an independent unit within IBM???s Global Services division.
IBM sees huge growth potential in managed security, estimating there may be as much as $22 billion in business from companies that aren???t comfortable migrating to a managed security provider. IBM believes the power of its brand will soothe many billions of dollars worth of fears out of that market.
On a conference call with executives from both companies, very little was mentioned of ISS???s extensive software and appliance offerings. The executives mentioned vague plans for integrating ISS software with Tivoli, but it???s clear the services unit is the prize.
ISS???s security infrastructure business won???t disappear, but it???s now the step-child in this new marriage, which means daddy may not pay it much attention nor aggressively fund innovation. That???s good news for Tipping Point, McAfee, Sourcefire, Cisco and others in the IPS sector.
It???s also good news for ISS???s managed security customers. A couple of years ago ISS finally consented to manage a handful of non-ISS products. Customers can expect a significant expansion of third-party products on the menu. And while ISS wasn???t in any danger of going away, it never hurts to have a critical security partner placed on a foundation of deep bedrock.Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio