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Broadcom flogs Symantec enterprise security unit to Accenture

Acquisition is set to make Accenture a global leader in managed cyber security services

Less than 12 months after acquiring Symantec’s enterprise security business for $10.7bn, and barely two months after the deal was completed, Broadcom is selling the security services unit on to Accenture for an undisclosed sum.

Accenture said the deal would make its security unit a leading managed security services provider, enhancing its ability to help organisations “rapidly anticipate, detect and respond to cyber threats”.

It will take on a wide-ranging portfolio including global threat monitoring and analysis via a global network of security operation centres (Socs), real-time adversary and industry-specific threat intel and incident response.

This is backed by a proprietary cloud platform delivering technical and cyber adversary intelligence through a customisable portal.

“Cyber security has become one of the most critical business imperatives for all organisations regardless of industry or geographic location,” said Accenture CEO Julie Sweet.

“With the addition of Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business, Accenture Security will offer one of the most comprehensive managed services for global businesses to detect and manage cyber security threats aimed at their companies.”

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Accenture Security’s senior managing director, Kelly Bissell, added: “Companies are facing an unprecedented volume of cyber threats that are highly-sophisticated and targeted to their businesses, and they can no longer rely solely on generic solutions.

“This acquisition is a game-changer and will help Accenture provide flexibility rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to managed security services. With Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business, we can now bring clients our combined expertise fine-tuned to their industry with tailored global threat intelligence powered by advanced analytics, automation and machine learning.”

“Becoming part of Accenture Security is a tremendous opportunity for our clients and our cyber warriors around the globe, enabling us to fuse the unique services, capabilities and solutions of two well-established companies to deliver the next generation of cyber security services,” said John Lionato, vice-president and general manager of Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business.

For its part, Broadcom gave nothing away as to why it has decided to rid itself of the Symantec services unit after just a few months. However, its 2019 acquisition of Symantec’s overall security business – which came as Symantec’s consumer business rebranded to Norton LifeLock – raised eyebrows across the industry last year, not least thanks to the sky high sticker price.

At the time, Eric Parizo, a senior analyst at Ovum, told Computer Weekly’s sister title he was also concerned by the deal because Broadcom’s heritage is in hardware, not software, and had never before made much of an effort to integrate or invest in the software products it acquired.

He suggested that Broadcom saw the Symantec business simply as a revenue stream, and said there did not seem to be any “vision or roadmap” for how it fitted into the business.

A Forrester report on the Broadcom deal suggested that recent history showed that hardware suppliers buying security software suppliers rarely turned out well. It cited the August 2010 acquisition of McAfee by Intel as historical precedent – McAfee was given back its independence in 2016 after losing $3bn in value.

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