Singtel acquisition of Trustwave shows its managed security ambitions

In a move to improve its portfolio of security services, Singtel has signed an agreement to acquire a 98% equity interest in US- based managed security services provider (mssp) Trustwave. This US$810 million (S$1.1 billion) deal will see Trustwave Chairman and CEO, Robert J McCullen, holding the balance 2% equity interest.

Trustwave currently claims three million business subscribers of its security solutions that help businesses defend against cybercrime and protect their data.

According to a statement from Singtel, Trustwave and its 1,200 employees in 26 countries will continue to operate as a separate business after the deal closes in three to six months depending on approval from US regulatory authorities. 

Ed Ferrara, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester said that Trustwave was one of the last Independent enterprise capable managed security service providers. “Other notable firms such as Solutionary, Integrals and even Dimension Data were purchased by NTT Comms and Data. SilverSky here in the US was purchased by BEA Systems. Vigilant was purchased by Deloitte. All of these players were purchased by large corporations that have very deep pockets with the ability to invest in security services,” he said.   

He explained that Trustwave needed such a partner and Singtel also got a good deal because it gives them ‘street credibility’ with respect to security, as well as, entry into markets they would have had difficulty supporting as a telco. “Its actually very good for both companies,” Ferrara added.

Singtel will leverage Trustwave’s threat intelligence, technology and talent to meet the growing demand for always-on managed security services in North America and the Asia Pacific region while Trustwave will leverage Singtel Group Enterprise’s assets and market presence to broaden its overall security portfolio and address the fast growing emerging security market opportunity in the Asia Pacific region.

Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO said, “Our extensive customer reach and strong suite of ICT services, together with Trustwave’s deep cyber security capabilities, will create a powerful combination and allow Singtel to capture global opportunities in the cyber security space.”

She added that the acquisition came at an opportune time for Singtel as businesses around the globe were all facing increased cyberattacks and were looking to boost cyber protection for their reputation, assets and customer trust.

Bill Chang, Singtel’s CEO of Group Enterprise, said that this acquisition would have no effect on the company’s partnerships with other security firms like Fireeye or Akamai that were announced last year, as it was merely a boost to Singtel’s efforts to grow its managed security services portfolio. 

Senior analyst Clement Teo from Forrester said that network providers have to decide how to become less of a dumb pipe and add more value by way of services to enterprise and one way of doing this was to offer managed services. “It’s part of the Singtel move to become a more relevant MSSP in the region, and by extension, globally,” he said. 

Teo added that Singtel is matching up to what other telcos are also doing by growing its managed services and gave the examples of NTT Communications and Telstra. 

“In the age of the customer, where customer experience, mobility, and digital are all table stakes for network users, knowing that Singtel has a multi-layered security service provides some level of assurance to Singtel’s customers,” Teo said, “This announcement also beefs up Singtel’s recent partnerships with other security firms for example Fireeye for Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and Akamai for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.”