IBM Nabs Q1 Labs To Bolster Security Intelligence, Analytics

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Q1 Labs will be part of IBM's Security Systems division, and Q1 Labs CEO Brendan Hannigan will become head of that division after the acquisition closes, IBM said Tuesday.

IBM is one of the industry's most voracious acquirers, and has made more than 50 acquisitions specific to software since 2006, more than 10 of them focused on security. IBM's most recent acquisition, in fact, was another security analytics software firm, i2.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week, Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Software and Systems, hinted that IBM is in shopping mode once again. Specifically, Mills told Bloomberg, IBM is seeking acquisitions in the $100 million to $300 million range to expand its $22.5 billion software business.

Q1 Labs, based in Waltham, Mass., offers analytics and correlation capabilities that can automatically detect and flag suspicious activity across an enterprise, such as evaluating activity that goes outside typical behavior or prescribed policies.

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"Since perimeter defense alone is no longer capable of thwarting all threats, IBM is in a unique position to shift security thinking to an integrated, predictive approach," said Hannigan in a statement. "Q1 Labs' security analytics will add greater intelligence to IBM's security portfolio and continue to distinguish IBM from competitors."

According to IBM's own research, security software and services are a $94 billion opportunity with a nearly 12 percent compute annual growth rate. IBMs Security Systems division will integrate Tivoli, Rational and Information Management security software, appliance, lab offerings and services, IBM said Tuesday. Q1 Labs' analytics will be used across that total security portfolio, and also become a common security platform for IBM's software, hardware, services and research, IBM added.

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Middleware Software, said the move by IBM would focus its expertise on customers' awareness of security threats.

"By consolidating our global expertise, IBM clients will have access to the most comprehensive, insightful view of security across their people, data and infrastructure," LeBlanc said in a statement.

Security companies with niche specialties are hot M&A targets at present, especially for large IT companies. Earlier Tuesday, McAfee said it would acquire NitroSecurity, a player in security information and event management (SIEM), and Avaya confirmed it had acquired Sipera, bolstering Avaya's session border controller (SBC) and UC security offerings.