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Clash of the Titans

February 17, 2011

Earlier this week ,Vijay Basani, our CEO, participated as a panelist in the 7th annual America’s Growth Capital (AGC) Information Security Conference in San Francisco, held right before the kickoff of RSA 2011.  I took a few minutes to do a brief Q&A with Vijay, and get his perspective on the event and — in particular – a distinct difference in viewpoint between two of the other panelists, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

John: The panel you were on was titled, “Convergence of Security and Systems Management”.  What were the key take-away ideas that panelists presented at the event?

Vijay: The most critical message that we identified is that systems and security management are absolutely converging today; organizations are already down the road of evaluating how to do it, and some of the leading-edge enterprises are already implementing solutions.  Interestingly, at the panel, there was some disagreement between some of the panelists — specifically, IBM and HP (who recently purchased Arcsight) – regarding the current viability of security and systems management technologies and platforms.  HP believes that customers aren’t yet ready for real convergence; IBM and most of the other panelists (including me) disagreed.

John: It sounds like there are some differing ideas on the value of convergence between IBM and HP.  What’s your take on their differing ideas?

Vijay: HP seems to believe that security and IT operations teams are looking at different points of data, with different tools, and that either there’s minimal value in the cross-correlation in visualizing the data between these tools, or — perhaps more likely – they believe that it can’t yet be done; at least, not with their own current tool set.  IBM knows that it not only can be done, but must be done in order to address modern, fundamental business problems.  To make this point, they elocuted that it will require a common correlation engine to be done the right way.  We at eIQ fully agree that’s the right approach, and it’s something that we’ve been talking about — and implementing in our SecureVue platform – for years.

John: What are the biggest challenges that audience members and panelists brought up related to security and systems management convergence?

Vijay: The big difference in vision between the panelists was in terms of how to implement a solution.  Many large vendors would like to believe that they can provide a single, unified stack to address both the “micro” problems of security and systems management (say, end-point anti-virus, NAC, and patch management) as well as the “macro” problems (such as insider threat identification or global threat intelligence).  Ultimately, however, the opportunity for a single-vendor approach to solving convergence is minimal.  Some vendors already understand this; Dave DeWalt of McAfee has often stated that the reality will be an “ecosystem” consisting of multiple vendors and technologies; however, there will need to be something aggregating and analyzing the data that sits above these tools.  Some vendors, like McAfee, have solved this for certain aspects of security and systems management — for example, the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator console which brings together end-point security and configuration data from many different vendors’ technologies.

However, an even broader level of visibility that extends beyond end-point data into network data, device data, user data, and other points of information are required to competently solve the more complex — and increasingly more common – threats and other issues that affect both security and systems management.  That’s where a platform like SecureVue adds tremendous value, by providing a common correlation technology that spans all security, compliance, systems management, and other and IT operations data.

John: What do you personally see as eIQ’s biggest advantage in being positioned to address convergence between security and systems management?

Vijay: Customers today are looking for a solution for security and systems management convergence today.  Many vendors are trying to satisfy that need: in some cases through legitimate attempts to create near real-time data ecosystems with real correlation; in other cases, through clever marketing tactics such as buying point technologies and putting them under a brand umbrella.  Neither of these approaches delivers to the enterprise today, but SecureVue does.  Our advantage is not simply one of being a market first mover, but of being a proven approach that is already delivering the promise of security and systems management convergence to organizations from the Fortune 1000 down to the large end of the mid-market.

Thanks for your insight, Vijay!

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