Network Security

Post-acquisition, RSA president teases synergy opportunities with Dell SecureWorks

One day after Dell Technologies finalized its acquisition of EMC Corporation and its RSA cybersecurity division, RSA President Amit Yoran maintained his business-as-usual stance in a Thursday conference call with press and analysts. But he also acknowledged that the merger could have certain synergistic implications, including go-to-market opportunities in cooperation with Dell's SecureWorks subsidiary.

“We control our own destiny and our mission remains unchanged,” said Yoran, assuring listeners that RSA has the autonomy to continue integrating with other products enhancing its own ecosystem.

At the same time, “We believe that Dell will enable us to continue to extend our reach into customers and routes-to-market that we couldn't have previously,” said Grant Geyer, RSA's senior vice president of products, also during the  call. For instance, RSA can leverage its relationship with Dell to offer expanded product bundles for customers. Indeed, Geyes said there is “world of opportunities out there to increase buying power for organizations that have a need for security and storage and infrastructure.”

Among the most promising opportunities for RSA is developing synergies with managed security services provider SecureWorks, Dell's public cybersecurity subsidiary. “We're still obviously very early into discussions, but there are some capabilities around packet capture technology and network forensics that SecureWorks doesn't have in their portfolio and a lot of other MSSPs don't have in their portfolios, that we are advocating as route-to-market both through SecureWorks and though other channels as well,” said Yoran.

Yoran also said that the acquisition would have no effect on RSA's research and development projects, or on the RSA Conference – considered a preeminent cybersecurity event. He did, however, state that RSA is in active discussions with Dell Technologies to harmonize and streamline any overlaps between its product portfolio and those of other Dell units.

News of the merger and its potential synergies notably contrasted with the announcement today that Intel Security was spinning out its McAfee computer security software unit into a standalone business and divesting its majority share – a fact that was not lost on Yoran.

“I think this is a great move from an RSA, EMC, Dell perspective,” said Yoran, addressing the split between the two security businesses. Yoran claimed that IT and executive leaders prefer collaborating with security firms that provide a broad spectrum of capabilities, as opposed to working with multiple standalone vendors operating within individual silos. He also said he would be surprised if McAfee's new majority owner, private equity firm TPG Capital, doesn't move ahead “with a keen eye toward cost reduction.”

Furthermore, Yoran noted that under the umbrella of a private company, RSA now has the freedom to make strategic decisions that are not rigidly “focused on 90-day public company windows.” Nevertheless, Steve Morgan, founder and CEO of research market and intelligence firm Cybersecurity Ventures, suggested that RSA could eventually go the way of SecureWorks, which Dell spun off as a publicly traded company in 2016.

"If history repeats itself, then RSA is better off breaking back out of Dell corporate and into a pure-play firm like they once were,” said Morgan in comments emailed to

“[RSA] would be better off inside of the SecureWorks brand... Or if Dell is daring enough to think about another security IPO, then RSA would likely deliver a much better return to shareholders compared to what we've seen out of SecureWorks, which has been flat since it IPO'd..."

In a FAQ published yesterday, RSA said it would not speculate on the potential of an IPO. However, “It's hard to imagine how one of the oldest, most respected, and hottest cybersecurity brands would not fare well in an IPO,” concluded Morgan, calling RSA Dell's new “crown jewel.”

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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