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Accenture To Buy Prolific Threat Intelligence Provider As It Scales Security Practice

Michael Novinson

Accenture plans to purchase one of the world's first threat intelligence companies to gain faster and more complete knowledge of emerging security challenges.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company, No. 2 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said buying Reston, Va.-based iDefense Security Intelligence Services will get Accenture closer to where threats are actually propagating.

This will help shorten the time between what's happening in the wild and when Accenture starts devising plans to thwart an emerging threat, according to Ryan LaSalle, Accenture Security's managing director of growth and strategy.

[RELATED: Accenture Buys Endgame's U.S. Federal Services Business]

The iDefense acquisition will also bolster other parts of Accenture's security business, injecting better intelligence into Accenture's existing information streams and enabling the company to create more plausible, realistic, and hard-hitting threat simulations, said LaSalle, noting the deal will mark Accenture a producer rather than just a consumer of threat intelligence.

Accenture currently subscribes to commercial threat intelligence feeds and has a small internal practice, LaSalle said, but the iDefense deal will dramatically scale the size and scale of the company's threat intelligence capabilities. Competitors similarly have some threat intelligence capabilities, but the size and maturity of iDefense's offering will help set Accenture apart, LaSalle said.

iDefense employs more than 140 security researchers and threat intelligence analysts worldwide, according to the business's website. Accenture is planning to bring over iDefense's entire workforce, LaSalle said.

Accenture hasn't decide whether or not it'll maintain the iDefense brand, LaSalle, and the company will spend the next year looking into how to best keep iDefense's core business going strong while still leveraging its capabilities across all of Accenture's security portfolio.

The financial services and oil and gas industries have the most mature threat intelligence practice, LaSalle said, with many clients having dedicated teams building and delivering skills and capabilities. Threat intelligence is also delivered as a managed service to other verticals such as retail, telecom, high tech, automotive and the public sector, according to LaSalle.

iDefense has invested heavily in recent years in making its intelligence more actionable and usable by clients, LaSalle said. Specifically, LaSalle said the business recently rolled out IntelGraph, a software platform tailored around the work analysts do to process, investigate and understand emerging intelligence.

iDefense's intelligence can also be embedded directly into client's existing threat defense systems, according to LaSalle. The business has a fantastic legacy and reputation from its 18 years in business, LaSalle said, and can be easily scaled to the size of Accenture's global footprint.

iDefense is currently a business line of domain name and internet security company Verisign. Terms of its sale to Accenture weren't insight, and the deal is subject to customary closing conditions.

This is the eighth security-focused deal Accenture has made in the past 18 months as the company pushes to build a $1 billion security practice.

Since August 2015, Accenture has bought a minority stake in Israeli cybersecurity company Team8 and has acquired: Arlington, Va.-based attack simulation company Fusion X; Houston-based industrial IoT security specialist Cimation; Israeli cybersecurity company Maglan; Arlington, Va.-based Defense Point Security; French identity and access management company Arismore; and Arlington, Va.-based Endgame.

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