Blog posts by Anmol Singh

Broadcom acquires CA Technologies in a ‘Broadest’ ever shift of acquisition strategy

Broadcom, after having denied the acquisition of Qualcomm earlier this year by Trump administration based on national security concerns, has decided to acquire CA Technologies showing one of the greatest shifts in an acquisition strategy from a semiconductor business to an IT Software and Solutions business. The proposed Qualcomm acquisition by once Singapore-based Broadcom had the likelihood of several 5G patents passing beyond US control. 

The CA Technologies acquisition still gets over 1200 patents and mission-critical software deployments by CA Technologies at US Govt sites in the hands of Broadcom, and yet appears getting a green signal from the Trump administration. Negating the basics of acquisition with absolutely no or very little commercial synergies, the Broadcom’s objective to acquire ‘established mission-critical technology businesses’ is fully satisfied by this move which could be considered one of the most ambitious acquisitions of this size and scale in the recent times. Not to forget the Intel’s acquisition of McAfee which didn’t work well for the company due to little synergies between McAfee’s endpoint protection business and Intel’s core hardware strategy, finally resulted into a divestment of McAfee after seven years of rough marriage. 

CA Technologies itself is built on a series of smaller acquisitions done in almost every segment of IT software – ranging from IT operations management, application performance, mainframes, DevOps, IT security and automation to analytics. CA Technologies has, however, had a good overall success rate of driving product and roadmap integrations to achieve expected synergies out of the acquisitions done in the pastBroadcom must consider using some of the CA management’s expertise gathered over a decade and more to drive this acquisition towards a successful business integration. There’s no similar business unit at Broadcom that delivers IT software or services, which should make it even easier for CA Technologies to continue operating under the larger shed without the need to make any immediate shift to operating strategy. 

The dissimilarity of businesses and customer-base would only offer limited cross-sell opportunities arising from this acquisition in short to mid-term. However, CA Technologies’ recurring profitable bookings are guaranteed to bring stability by the increased future cash flow for Broadcom in the short term to accommodate for the expected fluctuations to its business due to the uncertainties arising from the recent (though still proposed and under review) US trade tariffs against semiconductor goods manufactured in China. 

Besides mainframes which remain majority revenue stream, and some other areas such as IT project & portfolio management, CA Technology has invested significantly in building its IT Security portfolio over the last decade, starting with NetegrityIDFocusEurekifyArcot, Layer 7, XceediumIdMLogic and Veracode – all within the Identity and Access Management (IAM) domain alone. CA’s aggressive acquisition strategy has kept innovation out of the company’s door for a long time and now with the Broadcom’s acquisition of CA Technologies there’s little hope that innovation will be the key to revenue generation for the new entity anytime in near future. With numerous acquisitions, CA’s Identity and Access Management portfolio has taken a bumpy ride over the past decade but despite all the challenges and long-term ramificationsits excellent IAM product and engineering team has ensured a seamless absorption of acquired products into its IAM and broader security software portfolio.  

While the uncertainties will continue to loom over its acquisition objectives and alignment of synergies for some more timeit will be interesting to see how Broadcom would decide to nurture CA’s enterprise software and services business and where would that lead its still very well-positioned IAM product line. 

BOMGAR acquires Avecto to expand its PAM portfolio

BOMGAR, owned by PE firm Francisco Partners has recently announced that it has acquired Avecto, a UK based Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) company. The move coming within 6 months of Lieberman Software’s acquisition by BOMGAR clearly depicts the quest to strengthen its position in the PAM market by offering a full-featured PAM suite.

Originally a provider of ‘remote support’ solutions, BOMGAR offered remote session management capabilities in the market for a while until it acquired Argentina based Pitbull Software in late 2015 to enter the PAM market with its password management technology. Since then BOMGAR has been on an acquisition spree to expand its portfolio of PAM technologies to compete more effectively against the market leaders.

Avecto has been a market leader in the niche market of Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM). Its flagship product Avecto Defendpoint offers capabilities to manage threats associated with local administrative rights on windows and mac endpoints by offering controlled and monitored escalation of admin privileges. Avecto Defendpoint also offers effective application whitelisting and sandboxing capabilities for enhanced endpoint protection which has positioned it uniquely in the market with almost twice the number of managed endpoints than its closest competitor. For a couple of years before acquiring Viewfinity in late 2015, CyberArk embedded Defendpoint as a technology licensed through an OEM agreement with Avecto to sell a more complete PAM solution in the market for its customers and compete against then leading EPM product BeyondTrust PB for Windows.

Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) has become one of the fastest growing sub-segments of PAM market, closing in on approximately 28% YoY growth. With EPM capabilities, PAM solutions are poised to offer effective second-in-line defense mechanism for endpoint threat protection in coming years. The increased demand of better EPM capabilities embedded in PAM solutions has led many market leading vendors to acquire or develop their own EPM capabilities in the recent past. CyberArk, for example, acquired Viewfinity and Thycotic acquired Arellia in recent years to bring EPM capabilities in their PAM portfolios.

At KuppingerCole, we define EPM solutions to primarily offer three distinct technologies:

  1. Application Control: This allows organizations to control what applications can be allowed to run on an endpoint. This is usually achieved through application whitelisting in which only known good applications are placed on the pre-approved list and allowed to run. Application control provides effective protection against shadow IT challenges for most organizations.
  2. Sandboxing: This technology uses the approach to isolate the execution of unknown applications or programs by restricting the resources they can access (for eg., files, registries etc.). This technology, also known as application isolation, provides an effective protection against cyberattacks by confining the execution of malicious programs and limiting their means to cause the harm.
  3. Privilege Management: This technology encompasses user and application privilege management. For user privileged management, it deals with controlled and monitored elevation to local admin privileges. Application privilege management deals with exception or policy-based elevation of administrative rights for known and approved applications to execute successfully.

Avecto DefendPoint offers a good mix of these EPM technologies in the market to provide effective endpoint protection against a range of cyber threats. The acquisition of these EPM capabilities make a natural fit for BOMGAR offering great cross-sell opportunities in the short to mid-term. While their integration under a common PAM platform should begin soon, no immediate changes are expected to either product lines. In the short term, Avecto will continue to operate under the rebranded entity as Avecto, a BOMGAR company until its fully integrated into BOMGAR organization through the remainder of 2018.

The BOMGAR’s approach to obtain additional PAM capabilities through acquisitions is expected to bring rapid growth and deliver quick synergies but is also accompanied by the risks of integration failures and long-term effects of dampened organic growth. No doubt, the Lieberman Software’s and now Avecto’s acquisition places BOMGAR on the list of top 5 PAM vendors by revenue but not necessarily on the list of market leaders for technology innovation. As the PAM market continues to evolve, consolidation is inevitable, however, a stronger focus of vendors on completeness of features as compared to innovation in order to compete can stiffen the healthy market growth by failing to deliver on opportunities created by innovation.

While a clear integration roadmap for Lieberman Software was still awaited, the acquisition of Avecto adds to the growing pipeline of product and engineering teams to develop an integrated PAM platform to realize the essentials of these acquisitions. With a good track record of delivering growth and profitability as well as driving operational excellence, we expect BOMGAR to steer clear of any such challenges in the short to mid-term by delivering on the actual synergies created by these acquisitions.

CyberArk Acquires Vaultive to Strengthen Its Privilege Management Capabilities in Cloud

CyberArk, an overall leader in privilege management according to KuppingerCole Leadership Compass on Privilege Management, announced yesterday that it has acquired certain assets in a privately held America-based Israeli cloud security provider, Vaultive.

Data encryption has emerged as a key inhibitor for organizations seeking to adopt cloud services. Most cloud providers today offer own encryption to ensure that data in transit and at rest remains unreadable if a breach occurs. However, as organizations adopt multiple SaaS applications, varied encryption standards and inconsistent key management practices of cloud providers can quickly lead to a complex environment with lack of visibility and control of keys.

While most privilege management products today can help with credential vaulting and monitoring of shared administrative access to cloud platforms (including SaaS, IaaS and PaaS), they are largely ineffective against the risks of privileged credentials under direct compromise at cloud providers' end. Some cloud access security brokers (CASBs) can prevent such risks by offering data encryption capabilities that separate encryption of data at rest and key management from that of the cloud providers.  However, the CASBs lack privileged account management capabilities and usually do not support on-premises systems. Therefore, organizations requiring a complete control of privileged access across cloud platforms have no option but to integrate CASB's capabilities with their privileged management solution. CyberArk's acquisition of Vaultive is primarily aimed at solving this challenge for its customers.

Vaultive is a data encryption platform for cloud that helps organizations retain control of their encryption keys providing an end-to-end encryption of data across cloud platforms. CyberArk with its existing capabilities to manage privileged access in cloud platforms can benefit from Vaultive's data encryption capabilities to:

  1. assure its customers of exclusive administrative access to cloud while retaining control over entire data lifecycle
  2. extend its privilege management capabilities beyond administrative access to privileged business users of SaaS applications
  3. build finer-grained privileged access control for cloud environments using context-aware access policies from Vaultive

While only time will tell how well CyberArk is able to integrate and promote Vaultive's Cloud Data Security platform within its privileged account and session management capabilities for cloud, this acquisition comes in the wake of a conscious and well thought out decision to offer a one-stop cloud security solution for the customers.

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Companies continue spending millions of dollars on their cybersecurity. With an increasing complexity and variety of cyber-attacks, it is important for CISOs to set correct defense priorities and be aware of state-of-the-art cybersecurity mechanisms. [...]

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