October 2012 Archives

Security proving to be a fruitful area for investment

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The technology landscape is changing fast, bringing much disruptive change that provides organisations with new ways to streamline their businesses, reach out to customers more effectively and keep their workers productive. Among the hottest trends are cloud computing, software as a service, big data and mobile security. Within these sectors, many security technology vendors are showing a great deal of innovation--leading to a flurry of acquisitions and investments recently.
As with most areas of the technology sector, the security technology sector is characterised by a few large players and a range of innovative smaller players. In recent years, those larger players have been acquiring specialists to build out their portfolios. McAfee, which itself was acquired by Intel Corporation in 2010, has made investments in the mobile security space, and in the security information and event management and database security sectors, which will allow it to expand its capabilities in real-time big data analysis. It has also been integrating its Intel and McAfee product lines to allow it, among other things, to enter the identity management space. Symantec has also made a number of acquisitions to expand its capabilities in ediscovery and archiving, authentication and mobile security. IBM introduced its Advanced Threat Protection platform in April 2012, incorporating assets from its acquisition of Q1 Labs and of Internet Security Systems. It has recently brought all of its security activities together into a separate security unit and has announced a focus on cloud services, mobile security and big data.
There has also been a great deal of investment activity among smaller, specialist companies that shows just how dynamic the security technology sector is currently. The following are just a few of the most noteworthy examples seen recently. Barracuda Networks, which offers a broad portfolio of content security, data protection and application delivery subscription-based products received funding of $130 million in October 2012 and, according to Bloomberg, is eyeing an IPO. Cloud security provider Qualys has successfully undergone an IPO, raising a little over $70 million in September 2012, proving the viability of its model. Another candidate for an IPO is email security and archiving vendor Mimecast, which received $62 million in funding in September 2012. Application control vendor Bit9 received $34.5 million in July 2012 and cloud security vendor Zscaler $38 million in August 2012.
Deals such as these show just how important the security technology sector is and point to the high levels of innovation that are being seen. That innovation is bringing disruptive change--not just in terms of the security technology available to organisations that deploy such technology, but in the overall vendor landscape. There will be more to come.

How telcos can grow their business and manage risk

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Among the many challenges that telecommunications providers face are the need to transform and consolidate their businesses. They need to adopt new business models that allow them to move away from commodity services such as voice traffic where revenues are dwindling, to stave off increased competition from new market entrants, and to take advantage of opportunities in emerging market sectors.
There are several areas of opportunity that will allow telecommunications providers to transition themselves in order to stand out from the crowd. Given their technology and communications expertise, they are well positioned to reposition themselves as managed service providers for their commercial and public sector customers, supplying information and communications services that will help their customers to consolidate highly complex, heterogeneous network infrastructures into efficient and secure networks, incorporating next-generation technologies in conjunction with their technology partners.
Telecommunications providers can also help organisations to tackle the challenges and opportunities that they face in specific vertical markets through the development of new technology products and services designed for specific business needs. For example, in the healthcare sector there are opportunities to aid in the development of telemedicine capabilities, home-based care and health monitoring, and, in the US, to support the development of health information exchanges.
Telcos are also in the position to tap into a number of markets with extremely high growth potential. These include machine-to-machine applications, which rely on communications systems to allow devices such as sensors or meters to communicate directly with each other for greater efficiency, especially in industrial markets and in the critical infrastructure sectors.
Big data presents another opportunity, allowing telecommunication providers' customers to harness the potential of the huge volumes of data that their businesses generate, turning raw data into actionable intelligence that will allow them to achieve improved operational and asset performance, and that will provide revenue-generating opportunities by enabling them to offer more personal, relevant services to their own customers.
For small business and consumers, telcos can answer calls from governments worldwide to provide customers with security services, in conjunction with their technology partners, so that they can take an active stand against the security threats that they face, as well as providing other value-added services to allow consumers to take advantage of new digital lifestyles.
In short, there are many opportunities for telecommunications providers to turn the challenges that they face to their advantage, allowing them to leverage the investments they have made in information and communications infrastructures to stave off competition, increase their relevance to customers and identify new revenue-generating opportunities. A white paper that explores these challenges and opportunities in greater detail can be accessed here: Challenges and opportunities in the telecommunications sector.

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