Tracking Security Acquisitions Brings Headaches

  Company takeovers are nothing new – especially in the tech space. CxOs have always been expected to select the right product mix for their environment, independent of who might buy who or rumors of looming company mergers. And yet, it’s getting harder than ever in the security space to keep up with who’s in line to buy that hot new company.

  Over the past year, the mergers and acquisitions market has been going crazy in the security space. Websense completed their acquisition of SurfControl earlier this month, which means I have a new set of relationships to develop, just after getting comfortable with the price, product, direction, and last filtering relationship. (See my blog: Websense to acquire SurfControl – A Customer’s Perspective )

Network World also ran a good article on what the new WebSense has to offer.  Of course, there are too many other acquisitions to name even a small percentage of them, but I’ll mention a few.

 We have a team in Michigan that has been working on various laptop encryption options for many months, and just as we are close to purchasing products from SafeBoot, along comes McAfee and buys them.  As an enterprise, we have standardized with Symantec on many products including anti- virus software, so now we have to decide what this means for us. 

 As I read my e-mail this morning, I see an article on how Symantec might buy Vontu.  We had some appointments scheduled with Vontu, should we hold off? Is this acquisition a good thing or a bad thing?  If Symantec buys them, will they role that functionality into other products we already own? Is this a false rumor?

 These are just a few examples, but it seems as if the security market is going crazy right now with mergers and rumors of mergers. No, I don’t own any of these stocks, but factoring in what may or may not happen to these companies gives me security headaches.

 This situation reminds me of advice I’ve received from some consultants to never buy best of breed, but build enterprise partnerships with the large companies for a variety of reasons  The current situation causes me to pause whenever I’m tempted to integrate a leading edge product from a hot new company. And yet, every time I see a great new product that does wonders at a fraction of the price of the competition, it’s hard to not kick the wheels.

 For more articles on this topic, see:

SAP warns of the perils of buying best of breed

Experts: Best of breed security may not be the wisest path

Best of breed or all in one security?

What are your thoughts on buying best of Breed?

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