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Optiv Managed Security Services Push Explores European Acquisitions

Optiv’s Simon Church

Optiv, a Top 100 MSSP for 2017, is making a concerted push into the European market, escorted by Simon Church, an M&A veteran newly hired to run the operation. Simon’s background and recent market chatter suggest Optiv’s European effort could involve more cybersecurity acquisitions.

Church, whose official title is European general manager and executive vice president, suggested he intends to position Optiv as a pure play managed security provider across Europe. The company said it also wants to reach existing U.S. customers based in Europe.

His M&A background signals Optiv’s strategy to flesh out it European operation through strategic acquisitions of smaller outfits, starting in the U.K. and extending across Europe, to supplement organic sales growth (via Reuters). Church appears well-suited to the task, having previously helmed security provider Integralis AG through a similar initiative for a six-year period beginning in 2009, when it was acquired by NTT Com Security — another Top 100 MSSP for 2o17.

Optiv itself has been through the M&A mill, navigating its way through an acquisition by private equity firm KKR, and picking up Conexsys and Decision Lab in succession last November.

“There is no really pan-European player in the way Integralis was in the pure-play security provider market, along with two or three other worthy competitors at that time,” Church told Reuters.

European IT Security Spending Forecast

Optiv appears to have well timed its move for European expansion. Researcher Gartner projects worldwide enterprise security spending to total $96.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 8 percent from 2017. The analyst expects businesses in Western Europe will spend some $33 billion on security by 2021.

Not only will enterprises be more open to boosting security spending but a lack of adequate security talent across the board could further propel Optiv’s growth on the Continent. Most research firms believe that technical complexity and increasingly menacing cyber attacks will further advance an outsourcing move toward MSSPs. Gartner anticipates that by 2020, 60 percent of organizations worldwide will invest in multiple security tools, nearly double the number that do so today.

Yet another factor that could assist Optiv’s expansion plans: With organizations scrambling to meet the May compliance deadline for Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) IT security is top of mind. As such, regulatory compliance and data privacy have encouraged companies to spend more on security.

Optiv Competition, Talent

Optiv’s Stu Solomon

A Forrester Wave Q3 2017 report listed Optiv among the top 15 information security and consulting services firms, positioning it as a competitive option to market leaders KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture and EY. With its European foray, might the MSSP see a lift in its competitive position?

Church’s hiring follows Optiv’s appointment last week of Stu Solomon to handle the MSSP’s partner strategies and product and service offerings from a new business unit. It seems likely the two executives will be working together on an overall go-to-market strategy sometime soon.

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