VMware's COO says that its $2.1 billion acquisition of Carbon Black is all about fixing cybersecurity, an industry 'going through turmoil' (VMW)


VMware COO Sanjay Poonen and Carbon Black CEO Patrick Morley

  • On Tuesday, VMware closed its $2.1 billion acquisition of cybersecurity company Carbon Black.
  • VMware plans to make use of Carbon Black’s cloud security product line to help propel it to success in cybersecurity, a new focus for the company. 
  • VMware COO Sanjay Poonen says there’s too much “fragmentation” in the security industry, so he hopes its customers will turn to VMware for their cybersecurity needs rather than having to buy too many applications from different companies.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

VMware COO Sanjay Poonen says that the cybersecurity industry is “going through turmoil,” making it the right time for the virtualization giant to enter the industry.

The issue, Poonen says, is that there’s too much fragmentation in the cybersecurity industry, because each individual company is trying to solve a single, niche problem — even as larger companies are “not innovating anymore,” he says, meaning that many customer needs are going unmet. 

“The problem is many CIO’s believe they’re more fortified if they spend on more tools and there’s more layers to the moat to protect you from your enemy,” Poonen said. “This creates complexity for organizations.”

VMware, for its part, already offers the software that provides the IT infrastructure for many of the largest companies in the world. The opportunity, Poonen says, is to become something of a one-stop shop to help its existing customers lock down their networks from hackers and other bad actors.

VMware is staking its bets on cloud security company Carbon Black, the company it purchased for $2.1 billion in a deal that closed on Tuesday. Together with its new acquisition, Poonen says he believes VMware will become a “strong force in security.”

“We’re very excited,” Poonen told Business Insider. “We will become as a result of this one of the strongest players in security. From our perspective, the vision of this intrinsic security story is unique.”

The deal comes at a time when companies are more aware than ever of the risks of a cyberattack, with the Equifax or Capital One hacks both matters of recent memory.

“I think in summary, security is challenged right now because it’s a very important topic for technology leaders inside of companies, for boards, for executive teams,” Carbon Black CEO Patrick Morley told Business Insider. “It can change the brand or the finances of a company overnight if they get breached.”

A ‘very natural next step’

VMware and Carbon Black first began a partnership two years ago, as part of a push into cybersecurity. It wasn’t VMware’s first foray into cybersecurity, but Poonen says the company liked that Carbon Black’s security products worked especially well to lock down software running in the cloud, and how it used massive amounts of data to detect threats.

Essentially, Carbon Black provides security services for applications that run on the cloud or on private data centers. It also analyzes network data to spot threats and alert the IT department. Under the partnership, VMware made it easy to use Carbon Black to secure the software running on its virtualization platforms. 

Carbon Black especially appealed to VMware because it combined several crucial security services into one product, vastly simplifying life for its customers. Poonen says that it worked out, too, because customers told VMware that they were already using Carbon Black themselves, so the integration helped them out.  That paved the way for the acquisition, he says. 

Read more: Experts say VMware is trying to get closer to developers with the $4.8 billion it’s spending to acquire Pivotal and Carbon Black

“When it came time to say ‘we want to play in that space,’ it was a very natural next step,” Poonen said. “I would say this felt like a natural marriage we put together, and it’s because of the work the Carbon Black team had been investing in VMware.”

‘Obviously cybersecurity is an unavoidable topic’

Poonen says that while companies like Cisco and Palo Alto Networks focus more on network security, while companies like Splunk focus on monitoring, VMware’s acquisition of Carbon Black gives it the opportunity to round out its cybersecurity capabilities and build them into its products.

“Obviously cybersecurity is an unavoidable topic,” Poonen said. “The only thing that’s going faster than the spend on security vendors is the number of breaches and the bad guys.”

Poonen and Morley say that together, they can make a difference in the cybersecurtity industry by helping VMware’s existing customers do more to protect themselves.

“The opportunity to do that in conjunction with VMware who has hundreds of thousands of customers globally – it’s an awesome opportunity for us to bring a platform that can really help companies better secure themselves and bring it out across the globe,” Morley said. “Being able to do that on top of VMware was super compelling.”

SEE ALSO: A top VMware exec says it’s becoming the ‘largest force’ in the Google-made Kubernetes, as it places a ‘huge bet’ on a tech that many thought would kill it

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Amazon is reportedly seeking a new space in New York City. Here’s why the giant canceled its HQ2 plans 5 months ago.