Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, September 17, 2021

IBM Bolsters Security Unit With Latest Cyber Deal 

IBM moved to beef up its ability to respond to cyber attacks through the acquisition of "incident response" specialist Resilient Systems Inc. The deal underscores growing security concerns as more sensitive and vulnerable data is stored in the cloud.

Resilient Systems, Cambridge, Mass., is the developer of an "incident response platform" that is said to be used by a growing list of Fortune 500 companies. Among the 100 Resilient Systems employees joining IBM is security guru and cryptographer Bruce Schneier, Resilient's CTO.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) also announced Monday (Feb. 29) the launch of a new incident response service based on Resilient's platform and its QRadar security and incident management platform. The systems were integrated last year. "My guess is that's what attracted IBM to us in the first place," Schneier explained in a blog post. "Resilient has the platform that makes QRadar actionable. Conversely, QRadar makes Resilient's platform more powerful. The products are each good separately, but really good together."

IBM added that the expanded security services include a remote incident response capability designed to help enterprises map how breaches occur and how to respond. Greater emphasis has been placed on detecting and stopping cyber threats as they unfold.

The market for cyber security tools and incident response platforms is brisk: IBM cited a recent industry study that estimates that average cost of a data breach at about $3.8 million. Hence, IBM is betting companies have ample incentive to invest in cyber defenses as more sensitive and proprietary data resides in the cloud.

Resilient is the latest in a series of IBM security acquisitions. The company said it has hired about 1,000 security specialists last year alone. Its security revenues reached $2 billion last year. IBM's security unit also is headquartered in Cambridge.

The Resilient Systems platform is designed to automate and orchestrate the enterprise security processes used to respond to cyber threats ranging from data breaches to lost mobile devices. With its latest security acquisition and the unveiling of a new security platform, "we are doubling down on the incident response market," Marc van Zadelhoff, general manager of IBM Security, stressed in a statement. "Cyber security needs to function like an immune system, both in preventing breaches, but also in quickly eradicating those that do occur."

The Resilient Systems platform is designed to replace manual cyber tools and inconsistent IT processes with a "central hub for [incident response] management." The hub automates security processes to speed up responses to data breaches and other cyber threats.

IBM said it would leverage the technology as part of a new incident response service that among other things hunts for cyber threats and managed ongoing attacks via the cloud. That capability will be reinforced through a partnership announced this week with endpoint security specialist Carbon Black.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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