SAP recently announced that the they will buy most technology assets from the Swiss-German security specialist SECUDE. The developers and other resources will as well move to SAP, ensuring that as well the software as the "brain"ware is available to SAP. SECUDE provides solutions around SAP for strong authentication, single sign-on, and event management specifically to SAP environments. There is a long-term relationship between both companies, SECUDE being a supplier for many SAP customers in the areas mentioned.

One might argue that this acquisition isn't a real big deal, compared to BusinessObjects or others. However, it is a strategically important one. SAP will deliver the core functionality of the SECUDE SecureLogin product as standard feature, thus the first time providing front-end security. Overall, the deal appears to be part of a strategic shift towards more "security out-of-the-box" at SAP. Other vendors like Microsoft (out-of-the-box), Oracle or IBM (separate products) have heavily invested in security products in the recent years, in many cases through acquisitions. In the press release SAP mentions that customers demanded additional security functionality. And that is what is really interesting with that deal: Security can't be left to third parties, vendors have to provide solutions by themselves. Security isn't the core business (in most cases), but the core business requires security.

However, there will still be enough room for third parties, as long as they focus on security for heterogeneous environments or the niches left by the big players. But providing comprehensive security features is increasingly a must for software vendors in the non-security business. When looking at many products out there, there is still a long way to go to provide security out-of-the-box at an acceptable level. By acquiring SECUDE, SAP has made a significant step forward towards this.