In a move to leverage advanced analytics to help differentiate its products, IBM said today it completed acquisition of Waltham, Mass.-based Q1 Labs and created a new Security Systems Division with former CEO of the acquired group, Brendan Hannigan, serving as GM. 

The acquisition comes with the promise of adding “greater intelligence” to new product offerings, as Q1 Labs provides advanced analytics to detect and flag suspicious or abnormal events. Q1 was a private company, and financial terms were not disclosed.

Security as a Competitive Differentiator

"The ability to leverage analytics is becoming a competitive differentiator," said Hannigan, "We're fusing together IBM's vast security expertise and analytics to drive security intelligence to clients and fundamentally alter the security marketplace."

To that end, IBM published a recent IBM X-Force Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report that highlights the rapidly changing security landscape. It explores ways to combat an increase in high-profile attacks, growing mobile vulnerabilities and more sophisticated threats going forward.  IBM said firms “…must be equipped to quickly identify threats, detect insider fraud, predict business risk and address regulatory mandates.”  

The company said Q1 Labs' analytics and correlation capabilities can help detect and flag actions that deviate from prescribed policies and typical behavior with a view across an organization's network, applications, user activity, mobile endpoints and physical security devices -- including both cloud-based and on-premise sources.

Implementation Plans

IBM plans to apply Q1 Labs’ analytics to drive greater security intelligence capabilities across its security products and services such as identity and access management, database security, application security, enterprise risk management, intrusion prevention, endpoint management and network security. In fact, IBM Managed Security Services made available to clients a cloud-based service of Q1 Labs’ security information and event management offering before the acquisition was completed. 

The new technology will also create a common security platform for IBM’s software, hardware, services and research offerings. Clients will benefit from more tightly integrated products, a unified roadmap and accelerated time-to-value on investments to build more intelligent security systems. 

Buy or Build

Q1 Labs is just one in a string of security or analytics-related purchases the company has made over the last decade. IBM said it has acquired more than 10 security and 25 analytics-related firms in the last ten years.  The newly formed division will integrate IBM's Tivoli, Rational and Information Management security software, appliances, lab offerings and services. The new division will target a US$ 94 billion opportunity in security software and services, which has a nearly 12% compound annual growth rate, according to IBM estimates. 

The Security Systems Division was formed in early October, when the company first announced it was looking to acquire Q1 Labs. With it, IBM is looking for better ways to intelligently secure the enterprise.  The move will help accelerate the group’s security efforts by “…applying analytics to correlate information from key security domains and creating security dashboards,” the company said.