Friday, April 11, 2008

It's The End of The (Security) World As We Know it... And I Feel Deja Vu?

If you've been following blogs or online trade press coming out of this week's RSA conference, then you no doubt have heard about the keynote that IBM's Val Rahmani gave in which she declared that, "The security business has no future." Now, that's the punch line she used to get into the trade press and onto the blogs (including mine), but the real gist of the talk was that the future of security is for vendors to bake security into infrastructure products, and that that's what IBM would be doing.

I'm not going to dissect Val's talk, but I do want to point out two interesting things. First is that Val is Tom Noonan's replacement at the security branch of IBM Global Services (formerly ISS). So why the GM of a consulting practice is talking about her offerings' futility in a public way is a little confusing and not good for morale. I'm sure that's not what she intended, but still.

Second, and perhaps more interesting, is that this year's keynote is eerily similar to the Bill Gates keynote from RSA 2006. Now, he didn't open with a shock-jock style punch line the way Rahmani did, but he could have. And he would have had the high ground. But Gates did talk a lot about what Microsoft was doing at the time to build secure, sustainable infrastructure. He also dragged out OneCare (now Forefront) and Vista as examples of Microsoft's advances in platform security. The stories I have read seem to indicate that Rahmani did not mention specific products or tactics that IBM would be sending to market.

So I guess if you're looking for a take away, it is that platform security has gained traction at least as a talking point. And IBM is at least 2 years behind Microsoft in product positioning for security.

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