IBM to Acquire Q1 Labs, forms Security Systems Group, and also I what I did on Saturday
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  security labs intelligence q1 ibm
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Today, IBM not only announced its intention to acquire Q1 Labs, but also to form a new division of Software Group called IBM Security Systems. There’s a press release you can read here that will cover why IBM went down this path and what we’re hoping to accomplish with the new acquisition and division. Given this announcement, as well as it being IBM’s centennial year, I also decided that this was an appropriate time to reflect on some things about technology and security.
When I first came to IBM a few years ago, I started off in cloud computing and on my first day someone spent about twenty minutes going through the basics of how computing had evolved over the years. Just as the internet had pushed human beings closer to one another, cloud was the next step in pushing computing resources closer together. Security, I was told, was the biggest roadblock in cloud adoption.
However, what I have come to realize in the few years since then, is that cloud is probably only the beginning of these new, more acute discussions and concerns around the relationship between security and openness/connectivity. I went to the THINK exhibit in NYC and I was struck by a few key things. Much of what we are working on now is not only changing the way we connect and compute (examples would be applying technology to social interaction and sharing resources in the cloud), but also adding to a growing list of things falling under the category of “what we compute.” We are applying technology to water, traffic, the grid, agriculture and perhaps most significantly, personalized medicine.
Yet, these innovations rely on the technology doing what we have programmed it to do. For those of you unfamiliar with what hackers do, hackers look at ways to make technology do things it wasn’t originally designed to do. In the recently released IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report we called 2011 the “Year of the Security Breach.” So, computer criminals have been pretty successful recently at making software and systems do things that they aren’t supposed to do. In the context of more computing and connectivity, this rightfully raises some eyebrows.
As a result, security has, and will continue to become more important, because the impact of a breach, or of malware, or an insider threat, has the potential to become increasingly more significant. This is why IBM’s commitment to a vision of a Smarter Planet really isn’t complete without a focus on security, and thusly what makes today’s announcement both exciting and perhaps even predictable. We’ve been doing security for a long time, and the size of our portfolio certainly reflects that. The significance of today’s announcement really comes down to driving closer product integration and the belief that improved security will only become a more urgent requirement in years to come. The addition of Q1 Labs to the portfolio helps us to take information and events related to networks, applications, databases, users, servers, etc and develop meaningful intelligence about what is happening across disparate systems and environments. This combination of security and analytics seems a natural fit for IBM.
To me, it does not seem like much a stretch to suggest that our ability to realize the value of new computing models will come down to how proficient security capabilities and processes ultimately become. There is a lot more work to be done, and today what I am most optimistic about is that IBM is taking another important step forward.
Finally, I look forward to introducing some of my new colleagues to you all shortly.
*In the post I mentioned the THINK exhibit in NYC, and I’d encourage anyone in the area to check it out. It’s on 65th and Broadway. Here’s a video IBM produced as well as some pictures I took. The one suggestion I’d make is to try allotting enough time to stay for two sessions. You get 25 minutes at the end to interact with the screens and there is more than 25 minutes worth of content available. You certainly don’t have to stay, but I ran out of time on a few things I was interested in.