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IBM Security's new signal caller announces a West Coast offense

Steve Morgan | Dec. 10, 2015
Marc van Zadelhoff has an exciting new strategy for IBM Security.

In the huddle, van Zadelhoff calls the play. He tells Bit 9 + Carbon Black's Morley that IBM is opening its security analytics platform, IBM Security QRadar, enabling partners to build custom apps that take advantage of the platform’s advanced security intelligence capabilities. QRadar uses data analytics and threat intelligence to detect security incidents for thousands of security operation centers across the globe, including almost half of the Fortune 100.

Morley lines up wide and runs the route - announcing his developers have built one of the early apps for QRadar - which enables users to see threats more quickly and stop them before they can do damage. That's a big score for IBM Security. Bit 9 + Carbon Black is the endpoint security market share leader according to IDC, and exactly the type of partner IBM will need to recruit in order to scale up their App Exchange network.

Heading in to 2016, its game time for IBM Security and you can still hear the background chant - The Mighty Mighty Blue Team! -The Mighty Mighty Blue Team!...

​IBM Security is in fact a mighty strong player. It is a $1.5 billion business after digesting 15 security acquisitions over the past 10 years. Research firm Gartner calls the company the largest security vendor selling exclusively to enterprises. But IBM is going to need all of the cheerleading and momentum it can generate as IBM Security gets ready to take on the competition - namely the other big security vendors who are armed with their own vulnerability platforms and partner programs. 2016 is shaping up to be the year that major security vendors square off against each other in brawls for larger enterprise security deals.

The IBM Security business unit currently contributes roughly 2 percent of IBM Corp.'s total revenues. And it is the slowest growing unit behind IBM's other next generation technologies which include cloud, big data, analytics, and mobile.

IBM Security needs to execute throughout 2016 with their new west coast offense to score the dozens if not a hundred or more partners it will need to populate its App Exchange with enough Apps to whet the appetites of CISOs (chief information security officers) and IT security executives at Global 2000 corporations. That is the sweet spot for IBM - and it will have to own it if the company is going to move the needle on its security business from $1.5 billion to a number big enough - perhaps one with another zero at the end of it - for the IBM Security business to show up more substantially at the corporation's quarterly earnings announcements.


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