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HP To Buy Fortify

Deal seals already tight relationship between the two vendors, sets the stage for an HP-IBM showdown
HP plans to acquire secure software vendor Fortify Software, the two companies announced today.

The acquisition didn't come as much of a surprise to the security community given the close relationship between the two vendors during the past two years. HP, which has dynamic security analysis tools, and Fortify, which sells static application security analysis tools, have been integrating their products and technologies, with plans to release the fruits of those efforts, the Hybrid 2.0 line, this year. Hybrid 2.0 basically correlates testing data from penetration tests and static code analysis.

Financial details of HP's deal to buy the privately held Fortify weren't disclosed.

Mark Sarbiewski, vice president of products for HP software and solutions, says both companies see secure software efforts covering all applications in the enterprise. "It's a life-cycle problem," Sarbiewski says. That means working with developers, quality assurance, and production teams, he says.

"Fortify has great mindshare with the CIO and development community. We have great mindshare with the QA and head of applications. It's a match made in heaven," Sarbiewski says.

Fortify will initially operate as a separate unit, but eventually become part of the HP Software and Solutions business; its products will fall under the Business Technology Optimization application line, according to HP.

"Now we get to bring to bear the channels and expertise [of HP] and other areas that were harder for us to reach" as a smaller company, says Mike Armistead, co-founder and vice president of corporate development at Fortify. "We've had a good line on the security side and developer side ... It's been a struggle to reach the head of apps and the operations side. HP clearly has those relationships and this helps us complete our mission."

Meanwhile, the security community was abuzz with what this consolidation means for application security and with a more intensified match-up in the space between HP and IBM, which recently purchased Fortify competitor Ounce Labs.

"HP's acquisition of Fortify Software can be viewed as further validation for the software security space. But for most customers and prospects, it's just another move in the chess game between the two gorillas in the software testing/QA space -- IBM and HP," said Matt Moynahan, CEO at Veracode, in a statement. "We'd argue that acquisitions in this market haven't made organizations safer, and we don't expect this one to be any different. Consider that in the past year since the IBM Rational/Ounce Labs acquisition, Google, Microsoft, Siemens, and the U.S. DoD have all fallen prey to zero-day vulnerabilities in third-party software and components and while using static source tools in the software development life cycle."

Moynahan, whose company offers an application security service in the cloud, argued that giving developers the tools to test source code doesn't necessarily result in secure apps. "In reality, to properly verify the security posture of any application, the final product must be tested in the state that it will be rolled out in the enterprise, which includes third-party software to which no source code is available. The only way for organizations to truly scale is to do this verification in the cloud," he said.

Mandeep Khera, CMO for Cenzic, said HP's purchase of Fortify is in response to IBM's acquisition of static-analysis tool vendor Ounce Labs. "The big question is if HP will integrate this product smoothly and invest in it further, unlike what they did with WebInspect," Khera said in a statement.

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