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TippingPoint was once a clear leader, but it is increasingly difficult to say it stands out, said Magnus Boll, an account manager for Access 2 Networks, a Toronto solution provider. Boll said the market for IPS appliances has become commoditized, making it very difficult for vendors to differentiate themselves.
"For us, HP buying TippingPoint was a negative thing because we lost a direct family relationship where now it's just one more player in an enormous basket of players that HP has," Boll said. "There was a time when TippingPoint was easily defined as a leader and had significant advantage over other technologies, but there are more replacements now and everybody wants a piece of that cake."
HP CEO Meg Whitman recently told CRN that security software is a key part of her plan to bring HP back as an industry leader. In fact, she predicted that in five years, HP will be "widely recognized for having a very strong software suite, anchored in hybrid cloud, big data analytics and security."
ArcSight has struggled under HP's bureaucratic malaise, former insiders told CRN. Tom Reilly, who was CEO and president of the firm before it was acquired by HP, departed in May of 2012. He had been serving as general manager of enterprise security at HP where he oversaw ArcSight, Fortify and HP Tipping Point.
In addition to a spate of engineers, the security unit also lost ArcSight co-founder and CTO Hugh Njemanze, who departed to take a position as entrepreneur in residence with Kleiner Perkins (KPCB). Njemanze is also a senior external advisor to AlienVault where Roger Thornton, who was founder and CTO of HP-Fortify, now takes residence as AlienVault’s CTO. Dan Barahona, a senior executive in charge of ArcSight's technology alliances and partner program, left the company last year to join document security vendor WatchDox. He was a key player in ArcSight's integration into HP.
The turmoil within the ArcSight security business mirrors the high-level-executive turnover and turmoil that HP has experienced with other software acquisitions, including its acquisition of database analytics software maker Vertica in February 2011 and unstructured software cloud power Autonomy in August 2011. Both Vertica and Autonomy lost high-level executives and seasoned engineering talent.
"The ArcSight founders all left, most of the VPs from the security business left and it's been a real mess," said one source. "ArcSight was long in the tooth when they bought it and they can't execute on anything."
ArcSight embraced the channel model and was reselling well, but under HP, sales have diminished, said Dan Thormodsgaard, director of solutions architecture at FishNet Security, No. 54 on the SP500, one of the top security solution providers in the country. HP needs to reinvigorate its channel organization if it expects to have success, he said.
"The HP model, in terms of the channel, is not what it was when it was ArcSight," Thormodsgaard said. "They are not as engaged at the field level and they need to properly staff within the organization to recognize that there is a need in terms of the VAR."
Gilliland said the departures within the ArcSight unit were a normal part of attrition in the organization. The attrition in engineering is the same percentage of attrition today as it was when ArcSight was a standalone company, he said.
"The reality is that there is always a cultural difference between a big company like HP and a startup," Gilliland said. "While I think we have lost some great contributors to the original ArcSight, we have actively hired new members to the team; that business is growing for us and it is a successful part of the portfolio."