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Farewell to the Independent Managed Security Services Provider

BT Group bought managed security services provider Counterpane Internet Security last month for "tens of millions of dollars," according to Chuck Pol, president of BT Americas. BT says the purchase is part of a strategy to enlarge its security services practice.

Counterpane was the last of the independent MSSPs, and this purchase caps several years of consolidation. Symantec started it, snapping up RipTech in 2002. Since then other MSSPs have been gobbled up by bigger companies--VeriSign bought Guardent and Verizon picked up NetSec--or have merged--Ubizen, TruSecure and BeTrusted partnered to form Cybertrust; SecureWorks and LURQH joined as SecureWorks. This August, IBM bought Internet Security Systems for $1.4 billion, a price several orders of magnitude greater than the Counterpane purchase. Granted, Counterpane doesn't have a product arm, but "tens of millions" seems like a song compared with IBM's payout.

The consolidation isn't surprising. MSSPs require multiple security operations centers, 24/7 analysts, lots of fat pipes, and a huge investment in software engineering to analyze and correlate reams of data. A rich parent company helps with the bills and reassures customers the provider won't go belly up. --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]