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EMC = Safe Computing

EMC last week laid out its plans to integrate security into everything it produces while staying out of the perimeter security business.

perimeter

The vendor last week paid $175 million for Network Intelligence, a developer of technology that captures data from an enterprise's network, security, host, application and storage layers for compliance, security forensics and auditing purposes.

The vendor also closed its $2.1 billion acquisition of RSA Security and unveiled the formation of its new security division, led by Art Coviello, the former CEO of RSA who now serves as executive vice president of EMC and president of RSA.

The moves by EMC mean the Hopkinton, Mass., vendor can use a well-founded security practice to compete with the likes of Cisco Systems and Symantec, said Mark Teter, CEO of Advanced Systems Group, a solution provider in Denver. "Security and data management are very much related," he said. "EMC can leverage its experience in data management to move big into security."

Dennis Hoffman, vice president of information security at EMC, said his company divides the security market into two categories: perimeter-centric security, which focuses on technologies such as firewalls and antivirus; and information-centric security, which focuses on ways to protect a business' data.

All the big security players except RSA are in the perimeter-centric security marketa space EMC has no intention of entering, Hoffman said. "That's not where the primary battle is," he said. "It's important. But we have a lot of partners on that side such as Microsoft and Cisco."

Besides being the largest information-centric security vendor, RSA also has the best business platform, including a brand name and a yearly conference that bring name recognition to EMC's move into this space, Hoffman said.

While Network Intelligence is much smaller than RSA, it still fits EMC's needs for a market leader, Hoffman said. RSA is the only company that simultaneously offers technology for log management, event management, or the realtime processing of data for security purposes, and security information management, which includes the reporting and forensic analysis of where security problems occur, he said.

EMC's new security division, which incorporates RSA and Network Intelligence, is organized as a stand-alone division that will have its own specialized sales force over time. Network Intelligence traditionally has been a channel-friendly company, and EMC plans to work with those partners, Hoffman said.

By raising the overall awareness of the importance of security and data management, EMC is bringing new opportunities to its channel, Teter said. "EMC now needs the channel more than ever," he said. "EMC needs the channel's commitment and resources to keep the train going down the track."

EMC and RSA have a very different set of partners, and the merger is causing convergence between security and storage players, said Dave Gilden, COO of Acuity Solutions, Tampa, Fla.

Gilden said he's curious to see what the new EMC channel landscape will look like. "Smaller security niche solution providers like myself are anxiously waiting to see how it comes together, what it will look like and how it will impact us," he said. "Will we be given advantages by being focused on security as opposed to selling the entire breadth of products?"

One solution provider who partners with RSA and Symantec, isn't bullish on EMC. "I see RSA and EMC in the same light when it comes to partner programs in terms of the mix between direct sales and working with partners. Both companies work with partners when it's convenient for them," said the partner, who requested anonymity. Symantec's more channel-friendly culture could give it the upper hand in competing with the storage giant, the source added.

KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN contributed to this story

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