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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Solution Providers Get Involved with Internet Security Systems and Think About Future Relationship with IBM

Ever since IBM decided to firmly plant itself into the IT security systems sector by buying Internet Security Systems (ISS), solution providers and partners has been worried. The acquisition of ISS was planned for $1.3 billion and revealed last month as the fifth largest buy in IBM’s company history. Some of the major results of the purchase were the release of a new security technology for the Tivoli software line, an expanded number of solution providers and security consultants for IBM Global Services, a new managed services package and involvement with 11,000 customer accounts.

Many solution providers, despite an early announcement were surprised by the final purchase, mainly because IBM has never been thought of as a security expert. The growth of ISS over the past year has been remarkable and the company has managed to successfully rebuild its channel team and expand the roster its own solution providers and partners. However, some ISS partners are not particularly excited about joining forces with IBM, stating that when big companies get involved in the mix, the support and service for solution providers becomes weaker and more difficult. Other partners are optimistic that the acquisition of ISS will only help build the company’s forward motion and improve its resources, particularly since ISS is different from other recent expensive IBM acquisitions, because it exists in a channel not so full of security firms that have partnered with IBM.

Experts believe IBM will work hard to keep its partners and will not cut margins for fear of losing resellers. The strength of ISS’s reputation will hopefully bring new and loyal business to IBM. ISS already enjoys millions in recurring partnership renewals.

IBM’s acquisition of ISS will help empower the larger company’s security reputation. Because managed security services are part of a $22 billion market, many companies are looking to outsource IT security management to experienced professionals outside their companies.

IBM will reinvent ISS as a new integrated business unit in Infrastructure Management Services, a part of IBM Global Technology Services bringing resources to many solution providers.

Blogged By: Joshua Feinberg