Why security strategy does not come cheap

After security outfit Symantec wrapped up its US$13.5 billion capture of storage management software firm Veritas last year, CEO John Thompson admitted to reporters “We’re like a dog that’s chasing a car. Now we’ve caught it, people ask ‘What do you do with it?’.”

  • E-Mail
By  Peter Branton Published  July 16, 2006

|~|Comment-Tucci72-51842268.jpg|~|Tucci has described the space that RSA operates in as “incredibly hot”.|~|After security outfit Symantec wrapped up its US$13.5 billion capture of storage management software firm Veritas last year, CEO John Thompson admitted to reporters “We’re like a dog that’s chasing a car. Now we’ve caught it, people ask ‘What do you do with it?’.” That question (albeit phrased somewhat differently) seems to be at the forefront of most IT industry watchers’ minds, following last month’s announcement by EMC that it is buying digital security company RSA Security for just under US$2.1 billion. The two deals are clearly trying to address a similar need: namely, the need to ensure that enterprise-critical information is stored and managed in a secure fashion, so that it is available to the right people – and not the wrong ones. “EMC is where information lives and tomorrow EMC will be the company where information lives securely,” Joe Tucci, CEO of the data storage maker, said last month. He went on to describe the space that RSA operates in as “incredibly hot” — a critical technology — and one that EMC would find itself at a serious disadvantage in future if it didn’t have. While financial industry analysts have been sceptical of the merits of such a deal — the general opinion seeming to be that EMC has paid over the odds — technology analysts have also been dubious. Gartner, for instance, has questioned the technology fit of the two companies. RSA Security focuses on identity and access management, and provides a range of encryption technologies. EMC seems to be looking at these as key to its acquisition, but Gartner has argued that it lacks understanding of the encryption market. Other analysts have argued that encryption is going to become central to storage: that databases, files, and storage devices will all need to be encrypted to have any practical benefit. IBM and Network Appliance have both made inroads into this market already, and other firms are also looking at this space. For EMC, security is an essential component of its information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy: Tucci has said security will be a US$1 billion business for the company within the next five years. What is clear is that security is becoming increasingly central to enterprise data centre strategies, with firms in just about every sector. EMC will have to prove that it can successfully integrate RSA Security’s products with its own lineup — but that is true of any IT industry purchase. If it succeeds, then expect other storage firms to follow suit. But if it fails don’t expect other security firms to stop buying into storage or vice versa.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code