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IBM to acquire security intelligence software company Q1 Labs

IBM has announced plans to acquire the Waltham, Mass.-based security intelligence software company Q1 Labs.

This week, IBM announced plans to acquire Q1 Labs, a privately held security intelligence software company based in Waltham, Mass. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Q1 Lab’s software uses analytics to detect potentially suspicious actions across the enterprise that may otherwise go unnoticed. Its flagship product QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, for example, bundles together security information and event management, risk management, log management, network behavior analytics and security event management into a single system, enabling organizations to keep better tabs on what’s happening within their networks.

The acquisition will also play a role in the IBM Security Systems division, a newly formed unit that Mike Gualtieri, principal analyst for Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., described as more interesting than the acquisition itself.

“The market for security software and services is huge and growing,” Gualtieri said. “It makes sense to integrate all the disparate approaches under one banner. That will give IBM the differentiation of a fully integrated solution of the current best technology and best practices approaches to complete security management.”

Q1 Labs will anchor the new security division along with “the more than 10 strategic security acquisitions IBM has made in the last decade,” according to a statement. The division will be headed up by Brendan Hannigan, CEO of Q1 Labs, and will target a $94 billion market in security and software services.

This week also brought a second security information and event management (SIEM) announcement: McAfee revealed plans to acquire NitroSecurity.

Scott Crawford, managing director of research for Boulder, Colo.-based analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates Inc., believes the two acquisitions are significant, revealing IBM’s and McAfee’s commitment to data-driven security. In a recent blog post, Crawford discusses the hurdles and the importance of SIEM as well as what the promise the two acquisitions may mean.

“Both of these vendors have made a claim on the evolution of a new generation of SIEM as a result of these capabilities,” Crawford wrote in his post “Beyond SIEM: IBM-Q1 Labs, McAfee-NitroSecurity and changing perceptions of data-driven security.”

“NitroSecurity and Q1 Labs are both looking beyond SIEM toward something each refers to as 'security intelligence' in their pre-acquisition taglines.”

IBM’s announcement comes on the heels of two acquisitions made two days apart about a month ago. In late August, IBM announced its plans to purchase i2, an intelligence and investigation management platform specifically geared to law enforcement, government and private sector organizations. The i2 acquisition was completed just today.

Then, on Sept. 1 a second announcement described IBM’s plans to acquire the Toronto-based Algorithmics, which specializes in financial risk management.

Founded in 2001, Q1 Labs has more than 1,800 clients globally and across a variety of industries. The company also has a presence in Northern Ireland and Canada, and its employees will become part of the IBM Software group. The acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year.

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