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IBM acquires security company and feeds it steroids
Security
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 09 February 2007 08:53
IBM's Stealthy Security Play
DarkReading

It took Tom Noonan 12 years to grow his company -- the venerable Internet Security Systems (ISS)-- to 1,400 employees. But within the next nine months, Noonan expects the size of his once-tiny company to more than double.

"To make that sort of growth -- at that speed, in a company of our size -- is just nuts," Noonan said in an interview here earlier this week. "It’s crazy."

Back in August, ISS was acquired by IBM in a blockbuster deal that was valued at $1.3 billion. (See IBM Up-Ends Security Services Market.) At the time, many observers wondered what Big Blue would do with the security vendor, which was placed into IBM’s Global Services unit. (See IBM Merger Gets Mixed Responses.)

Since that time, however, ISS has quietly become IBM’s security division, taking on hundreds of Big Blue’s customers, assimilating hundreds of new and former IBM employees, and taking on the mammoth task of integrating dozens of security products from IBM, its Tivoli enterprise management subsidiary, and ISS itself.

And Noonan, contrary to some experts’ predictions, is still in charge.


"At the time of the acquisition, there was a lot of talk that we would be integrated into IBM and effectively disappear," says Noonan, whose expression bears the haggard look of someone who hasn’t had a day off in three months (including Christmas), but with a gleam in his eyes like a startup CEO on the day of his company’s IPO. "I’m here to tell you, that hasn’t happened. In fact it’s been mostly reverse integration, with us taking on a bunch of employees from IBM, including some who’ve been there for years."

The ISS unit is tasked with developing the security hardware, software, and services that will be delivered to IBM customers in the days, months, and years to come. The organization’s sales pipeline has tripled in the last month, Noonan says. About 300 new employees have been added, and that’s just the beginning.

"There is not a single department in our organization that’s not hiring in force," says Noonan. "We’re adding people in research and development, in quality assurance, in sales. And our rate of attrition has actually gone down since we were acquired. That surprised me -- I would’ve expected it to go up, but people are sticking around to see what's going to happen."....More

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