IBM buys Q1 Labs

Move will boost Big Blue's security offerings

In a move to fortify a newly-created division devoted to security systems, IBM is acquiring Q1 Labs.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Q1 Labs vends security intelligence and event monitoring software. The company's software will provide a platform for the new IBM Security Systems division. Brendan Hannigan, CEO of Q1, will head the division.

IBM currently monitors 12 billion security events worldwide per day for its clients, according to the company. It estimates that the market for enterprise grade security services could generates more than US$94 million annually. Organisations face a bewildering array of tasks to secure their own systems, including protecting against network attacks, insider fraud and phishing attacks as well as meeting regulatory mandates.

Q1 Labs' security information and event management (SIEM) software detects and flag actions on the network and within user-facing systems that fall outside of prescribed policies and typical behaviour. Such behaviour indicates possible malicious activity, such as an employee purloining unauthorised information.

Q1 Labs serves more than 1,800 clients globally across a wide swath of industries, including health care, energy, retail, finance and government. Q1 Labs has partnered with a number of network infrastructure companies and security software companies, such as Juniper Networks, Enterasys, McAfee and Foundry.

In addition to the Q1 Labs software, IBM's new Security Systems division will also manage IBM's Tivoli, Rational and Information Management security software products, as well as the company's security appliances, lab offerings, services, and research efforts.

IBM has acquired more than 10 security-focused companies in the past decade. Most recently, it acquired security analysis firm I2, in August.

Pending a successful regulatory review and satisfaction of closing conditions, IBM expects to complete the purchase of Q1 Labs by the end of 2011, and fold the company into the IBM Software Group. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

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