HP's security plans right on track

Since it has re-branded many of its security products and services as Secure Advantage, HP has seen strong growth in its security business

IT industry giant HP is experiencing marked growth of its security business less than one year after re-launching a number of its products and services under its Secure Advantage brand, company executives claim.

Sales of the integrated offerings brought together under the Secure Advantage umbrella, which include integrated network and data security tools and compliance management applications, are ramping up quickly, and HP has doubled the size of its security services business among enterprise customers in the last six months, said leaders of the company initiative.

Marketing its collection of security assets under a common brand and theme of top-down IT risk management is paying dividends for the industry giant and allowing to compete more aggressively for deals across the market with vendors like Symantec and McAfee and services and consulting giants like IBM, according to Chris Whitener, chief strategist of Secure Advantage at HP.

"We're seeing demand both from companies that have already bought-into risk management as an operational requirement, and those who are only beginning to approach security in that manner and who are trying to cross the divide," Whitener said. "Many companies are still in that latter camp and don't know how to move from risk management as a concept into a process, or even how to calculate their own risks."

The reality that many enterprise IT shops are still approaching different areas of security and regulatory compliance on an individual basis -- and that the strategy isn't working -- is what has helped HP appreciate measurable growth across the Secure Advantage business, the executive said.

Concerns over rapidly emerging technologies like virtualization and services-oriented architecture, along with increasing requirements around data security and compliance, are also pushing most large customers to grapple with risk management, benefiting providers like HP who can offer the broadest array of related products and services, he said.

Looking out into 2008, HP is betting on several key areas, including encryption key management, virtualization security, and compliance automation services to continue to drive new expansion of its business.

With both encryption and virtualization, Whitener said, HP enjoys an advantage over the many point product vendors it competes against, based on this ability to support the technologies from the hardware level all the way through to operational support and management, the executive contends.

"For something like encryption, the problem isn't finding a way to implement the technology, because so many products have it already built-in, but companies are struggling to stitch all these systems together, and we can offer a single point of integration and management," Whitener said. "It's almost the same thing with virtualization, where a lot of the complexity can be eliminated when you look at what we can do all the way up from the hardware level."

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