Is IBM really committed
to security?"> Rather than putting off ISS existing customers, the deal has helped ease concerns over the companys future, according to the CEO. Moving forward, Noonan said IBM is certain it can become a serious contender in the enterprise security space, using ISS products and services to help lay the foundation for a business that can help large companies protect their operations and manage risk in the same way that security market leaders Symantec and McAfee have recently positioned themselves.The company will also look to launch hosted security services, similar to those recently detailed by executives at Symantec, and bring its expertise in the open-source arena to bear on the market by helping customers integrate formerly disparate security systems. "No one big company with all the resources needed to help enterprises deal with all their security issues has stepped forward as a dominant player in the space," said Noonan. "IBM has an incredible opportunity to build an 800 pound gorilla and fundamentally change the industry, based on ISS platforms." Despite Noonans pledge that IBM is committed to expanding its role in the security sector, some industry watchers remain unconvinced that Big Blue currently entertains such a strategy. ISS managed services business, along with its vulnerability assessment and security information event management technologies, will be of use to IBM, said John Pescatore, analyst with Gartner in Stamford, Conn. IBM snaps up compliance specialist Consul. Click here to read more. However, the analyst does not see how the remainder of ISS business, including its intrusion detection appliance product lineup, fits into the big picture at Big Blue. "When you look at ISS, the majority of their revenue was from intrusion protection and detection, which is not a good fit for IBM, since theyre not likely to try and compete with Cisco, Juniper and Check Point in that market," said Pescatore. Pescatore added that Wall Street experts believe that IBM only wanted ISS services business, but that Noonan and ISS wouldnt sell off those pieces, so IBM paid for the whole company. "For now theyll likely integrate those services and leave ISS products alone, but long term it seems likely theyll spin those off, sell them, or just let them wither away," said Pescatore.
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The security industry remains fragmented, forcing customers to juggle more relationships than they care to, and IBM will look to take advantage of that issue, he said.