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Risk

1/4/2011
03:16 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Dell Adds Security To Its Acquisition Binge

Dell today entered an agreement to acquire managed security services provider SecureWorks for an undisclosed sum. I didn't see this one coming, but I should have.

Dell today entered an agreement to acquire managed security services provider SecureWorks for an undisclosed sum. I didn't see this one coming, but I should have.Yes. Mark this one in the should have seen it coming column, but didn't, category.

Why?

Just before the holiday's Dell acquired InSite One, a developer of medical archiving cloud applications. Prior to that deal the company picked up data center infrastructure firm Scalent.

There were a number of other deals, as well, but let's not forget the whopping acquisition of Perot Systems for $3.9 billion, or $30 per share - a 68% premium over Perots' then trading price.

That told the market that Dell was really getting serious about its IT services efforts. Prior to Perot, many folks had not.

What's missing in all of these offerings? Clearly a way to try to effectively deliver security services, such as those sold by SecureWorks: security information management, log monitoring and management, intrusion detection/protection services, and a slew of firewalls, and other services.

An IT services company can't play in regulated businesses today, such as healthcare (or really any business today) without a way to help clients manage their security and attain regulatory compliance. So while it may have been tough to predict that Dell would had of specifically acquired SecureWorks - a quick look at Dell's capabilities and its gaps should have pointed to a security services acquisition - especially one with traditional security consulting, managed security, as well as shiny new on-demand services.

From Dells' release on why SecureWorks and why it makes sense for Dell:

SecureWorks processes more than 13 billion security events and sees more than 30,000 malware specimens each day. The company has more than 1,500 banks and credit unions as managed security services clients and is protecting trillions of dollars in financial assets. Its reliability, capability and focus on client service has earned SecureWorks a best-in-class customer satisfaction rating from its global client base.

The acquisition is the latest strategic investment by Dell as it expands its portfolio of enterprise-class IT-as-a-Service solutions. Building its capabilities as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) is an important next step in Dell's strategy to help clients drive better efficiency across the enterprise and dramatically simplify the management of IT infrastructure.

Looks like a good idea for me, but the outcome of these things is always in the execution. But SecureWorks could turn out to be a great fit for Dell.

And as colleague Antone Gonsalves covered in his news story on the deal, Dell To Buy Managed Security Provider SecureWorks, Dell plans to keep SecureWorks intact, and maintain all of its offices. That's a good sign that that the deal could be a success: Dell looks like it is going to let SecureWorks be SecureWorks.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

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