Dell announced on Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SecureWorks, an Atlanta-based information security service provider that offers managed security and consulting services to nearly 3,000 clients worldwide.
In a statement, Dell said the acquisition is its latest strategic investment to expand its portfolio of enterprise-class IT-as-a-service solutions, and to build its capabilities as a managed security services provider (MSSP). Dell's strategy, it claims, is to drive better efficiency across enterprises and simplify management of IT infrastructures.
“The frequency and sophistication of attacks on technology infrastructure and malicious attempts to access data, requires reliable, capable and innovative information security,” Peter Altabef, president of Dell Services, said in a statement. “SecureWorks is a recognized industry leader in information security services and its offerings and expertise will immediately enhance our solutions portfolio.”
SecureWorks' security services are used to reduce risk, improve regulatory compliance and lower costs of managing IT security. In addition, the company's Counter Threat Unit research team processes more than 13 billion security events and sees more than 30,000 malware specimens each day to help protect clients from global IT threats.
In a media conference call Tuesday morning, Altabef said the acquisition was prompted because, "Security needs to be embedded in everything we do."
The entire SecureWorks team will be offered a position at Dell, he said.
"Becoming a part of Dell enhances our offerings," said Michael Cote, CEO and chairman of SecureWorks, during the conference call. "I'm excited about our ability to build on infrastructure in place at Dell."
Altabef said that as his team looked at the industry, SecureWorks stood out crystal clear. "We went through a rigorous due diligence. SecureWorks is our security platform going forward. This is a team we can build with."
He added that while Dell and Dell Services already have an expansive presence in the government, military and intelligence sectors, the acquisition of SecureWorks will expand its penetration.
"One of the reasons this purchase made sense is that it is complementary to grow from a security perspective," said Cote.
The buy also expands Dell's footprint into the cloud. "You can see through acquisitions we've made recently [e.g., cloud-based medical archiving provider InSite One] that we are expanding in many ways," said Altabef. Dell is pursuing particular markets it sees as underserved, he added.
As to whether this latest acquisition will affect Dell's own research and development efforts, Altabef said that the company is not slowing down. "In security, the market is moving very quickly," he said. "To build [something like this] organically would have taken too long. SecureWork's size and market presence was an outstanding opportunity for us."
Cody added, "We're excited about this opportunity. It is the best outcome for our clients and shareholders. I'm excited to work with the Dell team."
Altabef added that the move illustrates that Dell and Dell Services is moving into SaaS in a very powerful way. "This is a critical area for the future of computing," he said. "Client trust in these systems will ultimately expand commerce."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in early 2011. On the call, Altabef said it was an all-cash deal though further terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.