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Will IBM Spin Off MSSP Cybersecurity Business?

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna

IBM announced plans to spin off its Managed Infrastructure Services unit (known temporarily as NewCo) this morning, but the technology company did not indicate whether the spin-off will include IBM's MSSP (managed security services provider) business unit -- which ranks among the world's Top 250 MSSPs for 2020.

The lengthy IBM announcement mentioned security in the context of delivering hybrid cloud services. In other words, IBM explained how security will remain vital to IBM's core business strategy. But the announcement did not specifically mention managed IT security services, and whether such services will be part of the NewCo spin-out. Also of note: A lengthy memo from IBM CEO Arvind Krishna about the overall company strategy and NewCo spin-off did not mention the word security.

MSSP Alert has reached out to IBM for comment about the status on the MSSP business, and we will update this coverage once we have a statement from the company.

IBM Managed Infrastructure Services Spin-Out: Details So Far

So far, IBM has indicated the following:

  • The Managed Infrastructure Services unit spin-off is expected to occur before the end of 2021. The resulting business will have $19 billion in annual revenue.
  • The spin-off's name is pending, and IBM is temporarily referring to the organization as NewCo.
  • The spin-off's key services will include hosting and network services, services management, infrastructure modernization, and migrating and managing multi-cloud environments. Security was not mentioned in the list of NewCo offerings.
  • The spin-off is designed to allow IBM to focus on its hybrid cloud strategy -- which leans on software such as Red Hat OpenShift.

Security: Both IBM and NewCo Will Need Clear Strategies

Both IBM and the NewCo spin-off will need to have some in-house security expertise to safeguard customer assets, MSSP Alert believes.

  • On the IBM side of the house, the hybrid cloud strategy will need to safeguard customer data on-premises, in private clouds and on public clouds.
  • On the NewCo side of the house, the forthcoming Managed Infrastructure Services will need to offer security services that protect customers' infrastructure and associated data.

MSSP Alert will update this article if/when we receive a comment from IBM about the company's plan for its MSSP business.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.