Cloud Companies Chase Future in Cybersecurity ‘Wild West’
July 16, 2020
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In March, VMware Inc. Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger took the stage at a premier cybersecurity conference to deliver a cutting message to attendees: The industry had failed its customers and many of the companies were akin to ambulance chasers.
“We have 6,000 products, 5,000 companies, highly fragmented, (and) not operational,” Gelsinger recalled telling those at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. “We’re the fastest growing line item for IT and the number and scope of breaches has increased.”
The reaction: “There were people who wanted to kill me,’’ he said. “There were people who considered me a prophet of the future.”
Key Speakers At The 2017 Montgomery Summit
Pat GelsingerPhotographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Five months after Gelsinger’s speech, VMware entered the fray, buying cybersecurity company Carbon Black Inc. for $2.1 billion, and joining an estimated 5,600 companies that offer security hardware, software or services. VMware, majority owned by Dell Technologies Inc., and Box Inc. are among the software makers that have targeted the area as the next frontier for growth. Businesses are spending more to protect their information in an era when cyber-attacks have become more frequent and data is moving from corporate servers to huge public cloud-computing vendors.
Companies spent $112.7 billion on information security and risk management in 2018, and are projected to increase that outlay almost 9% more per year through 2022, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Still, with the industry so diverse, and so many niche products available, it will be difficult for any new entrant to capture a big share of the business, said Erik Suppiger, an analyst at JMP Securities.
“Security is a very specialized technology and it’s difficult to replicate the culture of security innovation at a company that’s not focused on security,” Suppiger said in an interview. “When you have other companies trying to expand beyond their core focus, I think a lot of times they are more successful if it’s adjacent to what they do. It’s when they move beyond a good complement that they get into trouble.”