HP is aiming to become an IT security services "superbrand" through its newly christened HP Information Security division.
HP Information Security, unveiled last month, is the successor organisation to Vistorm, the UK-based integrator HP inherited in 2008 through its acquisition of services giant EDS.
Despite its chequered past in the market, HP hopes the 400-strong unit will be its vehicle to global dominance of security services.
Vistorm stalwart Dan Turner, who was named as HP Information Security’s chief executive, said his long-term goal is to challenge IBM and Symantec at the peak of the global market.
“HP has about a 10 per cent share of the global IT market,” he told CRN.
“I believe we should look to get HP Information Security to that type of share. We want to be one of the superbrands in information security going forward,” he said.
Turner admitted that HP’s commitment to retaining Vistorm as an operationally independent unit was not always apparent.
“EDS made a strategic purchase of us in April 2008 and always had an ambition that we stay operationally independent,” he said. “When HP acquired EDS, the whole story had to be retold.”
He admitted that senior HP management were still having “open and progressive” talks about what to do with Vistorm nine months ago. But he said HP realised that retaining the Chinese walls was the only way to ensure it could grow into a credible global player.
“Our clients wanted assurances that we had a measure of separation, so we can act as their confidential agent and there is no conflict of interest.
“We must stay true to the original Vistorm business and remain vendor-agnostic and independent in the advice we give our clients,” he said.
Turner also said he would draw heavily on the HP machine as the business grows.
This includes HP’s new Secure Advantage framework, which encompasses HP’s recent security software acquisitions – ArcSight and Fortify – as well as HP’s global Security Lab in Bristol.
EDS never intended to drop the Vistorm name but Turner felt rebranding was the only logical route for HP.
“We had a brand that had done us well in the UK, Ireland and parts of EMEA, but for global expansion Vistorm was not well recognised. The decision was to take the Vistorm business model and fuse it with the scale, innovation and R&D of HP, and take a really significant stance in the marketplace.”
Turner hinted that the brand would expand rapidly into Asia-Pacific to service its larger clients that are moving to the Far East themselves.
“Our bigger clients want us to get to scale on a global basis quite quickly,” he said. “We have plans for Asia-Pacific and expect to have revenue there from February onwards.
Clive Longbottom, analyst at market watcher Quocirca, said HP has a mixed heritage in the security space.
He urged the firm to learn from the mistakes of its ill-fated Praesidium venture, which he criticised for being “based on HP’s view of the world”.
“HP has had a chequered history in security: it’s come, it’s gone,” Longbottom said.“But it now wants to be seen as a full services player and I hope this time it takes it more seriously than it has done in the past.”
David Hobson, managing director of security integrator GSS, argued that Vistorm would inevitably become less entrepreneurial now it is part of the global brand. “Some of the more fleet-of-foot people they have may find it hard to cope in a corporate environment,” he said.
However, Turner argued that the security services landscape was tilting increasingly towards global players with services aspirations.
He pointed to Dell’s recent acquisition of SecureWorks, and NTT’s acquisition of Dimension Data. Data Integration is among the other local security integrators that have been snapped up by a larger IT services player in recent months.
“This is a trend that is set to continue. Players will have to get bigger to compete on global basis,” he said.
Turner claimed Symantec is currently the global leader in security services, with a 6-6.5 per cent market share, with IBM and HP rounding out the podium places.
“The fact that the leader has just six per cent share shows the market’s immaturity,” he said.
“We believe there is a golden opportunity for big players to step up and grab a much larger share.”
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