Dell Acquires SecureWorks to Add Managed Security Services to IT Portfolio

Dell acquired SecureWorks, which specializes in managed security, risk assessment, and threat management for corporate customers, to expand its IT-as-a-service portfolio into security.

Dell confirmed on Jan. 4 that it will acquire SecureWorks, an information-security services company. The acquisition will expand Dell's enterprise IT-as-a-service portfolio, the company said.

The acquisition is expected to close sometime in February, or "in approximately 40 days," Peter Altabef, president of Dell Services, said during a conference call with reporters. Although financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Altabef said it was a cash transaction.

Acquiring SecureWorks is a "significant expansion" of Dell's information-security capabilities, said Altabef. With its proprietary threat-management platform, SecureWorks helps clients protect assets, reduce risk, improve regulatory compliance and lower IT security-management costs, he said.

The Atlanta-based company specializes in various security-as-a-service offerings, including managed security, threat intelligence, risk assessment and security consulting, Michael Cote, president and CEO of SecureWorks, said during the call. The company claims almost 3,000 customers in 70 countries.

Dell has been making "key investments" in services, cloud and storage to meet customer needs, Altabef said. With SecureWorks in tow, Dell immediately becomes a "major player" as a managed-security services provider with a "full breadth" of security services, he said.

Dell considered whether to "build or buy," said Altabef. The rapidly increasing volume, sophistication, and speed of malware attacks convinced the company that it would have "taken too long to build organically" what was already available in the market, he said. The "deep" security experience the SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit research team had gained made the acquisition an "outstanding opportunity," he said.

Through its management platform, the Counter Threat Unit team monitors, correlates and analyzes 13 billion "security events" or potential security threats every day, said Cote. The team also sees more than 30,000 pieces of malware every day.

Security threats change at a "dramatic pace," Cote said, and SecureWorks has in its database more than 10 years of attack data that it can refer to when it's trying to determine if a specific event is malicious.

Dell has been investing heavily in software-as-a-service and various cloud technologies in recent months, said Altabef. SecureWorks will complement those existing SAAS (Software as a Service) products, because up until now, the enterprise IT company did not have a Dell-branded managed-security service, Altabef said.

Dell's focus is on "particular areas where the market is undervalued," and bringing those products in-house to grow them to their potential, said Altabef, naming Boomi, the SAAS application integrator acquired in November, and InsiteOne, with its cloud-based medical-archiving product acquired less than two weeks ago.

"We are marching toward the future of services at a rapid pace," he said.

SecureWorks has the opportunity to expand its services over Dell's extensive distribution network, but also within Dell, said Cote. He said there were possibilities such as extending Dell's Business Process Outsourcing services or cloud offerings to include a security component.

SecureWorks has been a "Dell shop for a while," and the two companies have had a strategic partnership since June 2010, said Altabef.

This is a "growth-focused" acquisition, and Cote and the rest of the leadership team at SecureWorks have committed to Dell, said Altabef. SecureWorks has approximately 700 employees. "The cultural fit has been great" between the two companies, according to Cote.