Look Out IBM and Cisco: HP Teams With FireEye To Mount Fortune 1000 Security Offensive

Hewlett-Packard and FireEye Tuesday joined together to turn up the heat on rivals such as IBM and Cisco with a multiyear global deal to co-brand and co-deliver a wide range of security services based on FireEye's cutting-edge offerings.

The new partnership gives Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP's $21 billion services organization the security muscle from FireEye to blanket the globe with what the two companies are calling a comprehensive suite of security services based on a new "industry-standard reference architecture" for advanced threat protection and incident response services.

The deal comes as security vendors gather this week with solution providers at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the largest security-focused event in the industry.

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"This will be the premier partnership in the security area and I think our competitors are going to feel it," said HP Executive Vice President of Enterprise Services Mike Nefkens in an interview with CRN. "Not only the Ciscos but the IBMs and others of the world are going to feel that there is now a partnership out there that really has a dominant position in security services."

There is no major security vendor that currently dominates that global market, said Nefkens, referring to the deal as a one-of-a-kind partnership to target HP's top 1,000 strategic clients. "We are trying through this partnership to become that dominant partner for our customers," he said. "We think this jump-starts both companies globally. We think this is going to be one plus one equals four."

HP is "doubling down" on security services and this week will strike out with the new HP-FireEye offering to target its top 250 strategic accounts, said Nefkens. The HP security consulting business has more than 5,000 services professionals and is the fastest-growing business within HP Enterprise Services.

FireEye Chairman and CEO Dave DeWalt compared the deal to FireEye's $1.05 billion acquisition of security consulting specialist Mandiant last year. "The next-generation security solution needs people and product, and this is people and product times 100 with HP," said DeWalt. "This is human intelligence working together with automated product that really combines to create a better solution."

Mandiant already is investigating 100 breaches every quarter, said DeWalt, noting that the HP services muscle could provide the potential to address 1,000 breaches each quarter. "The intelligence we learn from every breach makes us smarter against the adversary," he said. "When we learn about a Target, Sony, Home Depot or JP Morgan, each one was very unique and taught us something. If we can multiply that out it is going to create a unique innovation and intelligence advantage for us."

The deal extends FireEye's reach into markets it could not have reached on its own, said DeWalt. "Obviously, our aspirations are big," he said. "We didn't come to play small ball. We want to play the big game."

The partnership is backed up with a detailed contract with commitments around hiring, compensation incentives and marketing initiatives. "This has commitment and depth from the CEOs on down to make this happen," said DeWalt. "It's a detailed, in-depth relationship."

The CEO for a top HP security solution provider, who did not want to be identified, said HP had to answer the enterprise security challenges from IBM and Cisco. "HP keeps telling us they are going to take the small security group and make it bigger," he said. "Bringing HP Global Services into it with FireEye is a powerful combination."

The solution provider CEO said he sees the partnership raising the services bar in the intensely competitive security market. "This is a big deal," he said. "When you look at HP's portfolio right now, they are missing everything that FireEye has got in the portfolio. This makes all the sense in the world. This just snaps into the HP security portfolio. It is a perfect blend from a technology standpoint."

The CEO said it remains to be seen just what kind of impact the partnership will have in the enterprise channel sales trenches.

DeWalt and Nefkens, for their part, said the deal is targeted at the top global strategic accounts and ultimately should benefit enterprise security partners of both companies.

"We're very proud of our dedication to the channel," said Nefkens. "They are critical for us, especially in the small/medium-business space. We'll have a direct attack from our side on our largest enterprise customers. But we will leverage our channel from a selling perspective to the SMB space. I think the channel will see this as a very favorable offering to help them grow as well."

DeWalt, meanwhile, stressed that 90 percent of FireEye’s business goes through the channel. He sees the HP partnership creating "another set of solutions" for the FireEye channel to offer. "This sort of innovation needs scale," he said. "The opportunity is right in line with our global channel. I think it's a real plus for them."

Among the joint go-to-market offerings from the two vendors are global incident response from HP and FireEye's Mandiant security consulting organization including cybersecurity investigation, assessment and resolution; advanced compromise assessment including breach assessment services; and managed advanced threat protection services with 24/7 security monitoring.

"There is real teeth behind this," said Nefkens of the deal. "It is about helping both organizations grow and providing great service to our customers that are begging for this kind of partnership."