IBM to acquire Q1 Labs and build security intelligence

Robert LeBlanc, IBM Robert LeBlanc, IBM

Armonk, New York, USA: IBM (NYSE: IBM) has agreed to acquire privately held Q1 Labs, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based provider of security intelligence software. The move aims to accelerate IBM’s efforts to secure its clients’ enterprises more intelligently by applying analytics to correlate information from key security domains and creating security dashboards for their organisations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Q1 Labs will join the newly-formed IBM Security Systems division, representing the world’s most comprehensive security portfolio. After the close, IBM intends the new division to be led by Brendan Hannigan, CEO of Q1 Labs.

The new division will target a US$94 billion opportunity in security software and services, which has a nearly 12% compound annual growth rate, according to IBM estimates. Q1 Labs will join more than 10 strategic security acquisitions that IBM has made in the last decade and more than 25 analytics-related purchases, including the recently announced acquisition of security analytics software firm, i2 (see M2M Now, Sept 2, 2011: IBM to accelerate smart city data analytics with acquisition of i2).

Organisations face a landscape with high-impact corporate breaches, growing mobile security concerns and advanced security threats, as highlighted in last week’s IBM X-Force Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report. Firms must be equipped to identify threats, detect insider fraud, predict business risk and address regulatory mandates. Three quarters of firms feel cyber attacks are hard to detect and their effectiveness would increase with end-to-end solutions, according to a recent industry report(1).

Q1 Labs’ advanced analytics and correlation capabilities can automatically detect and flag actions across an enterprise that deviate from prescribed policies and typical behaviour to help prevent breaches, such as an employee accessing unauthorised information.

“Since perimeter defence alone is no longer capable of thwarting all threats, IBM is in a unique position to shift security thinking to an integrated, predictive approach,” said Brendan Hannigan, CEO of Q1 Labs. “Q1 Labs’ security analytics will add greater intelligence to IBM’s security portfolio and continue to distinguish IBM from competitors.”

IBM’s new Security Systems division integrates IBM’s Tivoli, Rational and Information Management security software, appliances, lab offerings and services. The company plans to apply Q1 Labs’ analytics to drive greater security intelligence capabilities across its security products and services such as identity and access management, database security, application security, enterprise risk management, intrusion prevention, endpoint management and network security. In fact, IBM Managed Security Services today is making available to clients a cloud-based service of Q1 Labs’ security information and event management offering.

Q1 Labs technology will also create a common security platform for IBM’s software, hardware, services and research offerings. Clients will benefit from more tightly integrated products, a unified roadmap and accelerated time-to-value on investments to build more intelligent security systems.

“Realigning IBM’s security expertise in a new division with a greater focus on analytics is a bold step IBM is taking to help clients stay ahead of growing security threats,” said Robert LeBlanc (pictured), senior vice president, IBM Middleware Software. “By consolidating our global expertise, IBM clients will have access to the most comprehensive, insightful view of security across their people, data and infrastructure.”

IBM claims to operate the world’s broadest security research and development organisation, comprising nine security operations centres, nine IBM Research centres, 11 software security development labs and three Institutes for Advanced Security. It employs thousands of security experts globally such as security operations analysts, consultants, sales and tech specialists, and strategic outsourcing delivery professionals. IBM monitors 12 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries and holds 3,000 security patents.

Q1 Labs has more than 1,800 clients globally, including healthcare providers, energy firms, retail organisations, utility companies, financial institutions, government agencies, educational institutions, and wireless service providers.

Q1 Labs’ software collects and analyses information from hundreds of sources across an organiaation such as the network, applications, user activity, mobile endpoints, and physical security devices such as badge readers — including both cloud-based and on-premise sources. Its security information and event management (SIEM) software also helps IT staff and auditors manage the tracking of security incidents and model risk to better protect customers, while giving executives insight into the security and risk posture of the organisation.

Q1 Labs’ employees are located in Waltham, Massachusetts; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and will become part of IBM Software Group. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011 and is subject to regulatory review and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

(1) Source: Ponemon Institute report, June 2011

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