FireEye Inc., a provider of managed security services augmented by machine learning algorithms, has acquired Respond Software, a provider of a platform that automates security incident investigations, for $186 million.
Peter Bailey, executive vice president and COO for FireEye, said the acquisition of Respond Software adds eXtended Detection and Response (XDR) capabilities to better leverage the expertise of both the FireEye platform and security professionals who use it to manage security on behalf of customers.
XDR is designed to make it easier to correlate events across endpoints and network traffic flows to identify cybersecurity threats more accurately. Respond Software will also be integrated into the portfolio of services that FireEye makes available via Mandiant Solutions, an arm of the company that focuses on threat intelligence and security posture assessments.
The Respond Analyst XDR engine leverages cloud-based data science models that ingest data from a range of security technologies in real-time. That engine will become part of the Mandiant Advantage platform as well as Mandiant’s managed security services.
Fresh off raising an additional $400 million in funding, FireEye is at the forefront of an effort to encourage organizations to rely more on external cybersecurity expertise. The company is driving that effort via a set of managed services and consulting engagements that are anchored around the FireEye platform, which employs machine learning algorithms across a single security operations center (SOC) platform to manage endpoint, network and email security.
Bailey said more organizations are relying on platforms infused with machine learning algorithms because they are being inundated by alerts generated by various security tools, now that most people are working from home to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Platforms that manage security via the cloud make it possible to rely on machine learning algorithms to eliminate large numbers of the false positives that generate those alerts, he noted.
In its most recent quarter, FireEye reported revenues of $238 million, a 6% increase from the same period a year ago, and expects to report revenues of more than $930 million for its fiscal year 2020. That level of revenue would make the provider profitable with a net income of less than $1 million.
Competition among managed security service providers (MSSPs) is, of course, fierce. IT organizations are perpetually short-handed when it comes to security, but that has yet to result in a massive increase in reliance on MSSPs overall. However, as cybercriminals become more adept on the one hand and IT environments become more complex on the other, the point at which organizations decide they can’t manage security on their own finally may be arriving.
In fact, digital business transformation initiatives that are sure to be targeted by cybercriminals may be the straw that finally breaks the proverbial back of those internal IT teams.