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Contributing Writer

HP buys ArcSight: More Than Just Security Management

Sep 13, 20103 mins
Check PointCisco SystemsData and Information Security

Think IT data warehousing and business intelligence, professional services, and Federal opportunities

The waiting and guessing games are over, today HP announced its intent to buy security management software leader ArcSight for $1.5 billion. I didn’t think HP would pull the trigger on another billion dollar + acquisition before hiring a new CEO but obviously I was wrong. ArcSight is a true enterprise software company. As I recall, many of the early ArcSight management team members actually came from HP OpenView. With this model in mind, ArcSight went beyond technology and invested early in top field engineers, security experts, and sales people. This vaulted the company to a leadership position and it never looked back. For HP, ArcSight fits with its overall focus on IT operations software solutions for Business Technology Optimization. In the future, security information will be one of many inputs that helps CIOs improve IT management and responsiveness. It won’t happen overnight but think of all sources of IT management data (i.e. log data, SNMP, network flow data, configuration data, etc.) being available for query, analysis and reporting in a common repository. This is what HP has in mind over the long haul.In the meantime, HP should get plenty of ArcSight bang-for-the-buck over the next 12-24 months by:1. Aligning ArcSight and EDS. Security is a top activity within professional services firms. Given ArcSight’s enterprise play, EDS will likely double down on IT risk management and push ArcSight wherever it can.2. Use ArcSight as a door opener in the federal market. Yes, HP already sells plenty of products and services to Uncle Sam, but it now has access to a CISO community with deep pockets. With CNCI 2.0 and FISMA 2.0 upon us, this will only increase.3. Bringing ArcSight into the virtual data center strategy. According to ESG Research, many enterprises don’t do a good job of coordinating security with server virtualization. This is a big problem given virtualization growth — this is why VMware was so vocal about its recent vShield announcement. HP can and should bring ArcSight into its strategic vision for CIOs with massive data center projects.In spite of its security services and thought leadership, HP’s name has been notably absent from IT security leadership discussions in the past. ArcSight should change this.A few other quick thoughts:1. In the past, ArcSight was built exclusively on top of Oracle databases. Great in terms of enterprise functionality but it made the product expensive to buy, expensive to operate, and somewhat weak in terms of queries across large data sets. Look for HP to accelerate plans to de-couple ArcSight from Oracle ASAP.2. If HP is still in buying mode, the obvious question is, “who is next?” Would anyone be surprised if HP made a move for Check Point, F5, or Riverbed soon?

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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