IBM invests in platform to help CEOs understand cybersecurity

IBM wants your CEO to avoid facial expressions like this when it comes to cybersecurity. (Getty Images)

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IBM is betting that CEOs across the country will want to increasingly understand cybersecurity.

On Monday, Big Blue announced plans to acquire San Francisco-based Agile 3 Solutions,  a developer of data visualization software intended for C-suite and senior executives. The software is supposed to help executives better comprehend and manage the realtime digital threats facing their organizations.

By taking computer code and translating it into a text-heavy dashboard, Agile 3 Solutions’ offers users with no technical expertise insight into breach alerts and other security notifications.

“By 2017, 80 percent of IT risk and security organizations will report metrics to non-IT executive decision makers; however, only 20 percent will be considered useful by the target audience,” a Gartner research study cited by IBM states.

Founded by IBM alumnus Raghu Varadan, the startup will be acquired for an undisclosed fee in the coming weeks and its products folded into computing giant’s existing security portfolio. Agile 3 Solutions was working with IBM as a business partner prior to the acquisition.

“Knowing what your crown jewel data is, and understanding its susceptibility to exploitation via external or insider threats, is an imperative for any organization,” IBM security general manager Marc van Zadelhoff said in a statement regarding the acquisition of Agile 3 Solutions.

More than 90 percent of corporate executives said they cannot read a cybersecurity incident report, according to a 1,530-person survey conducted by Goldsmiths in April 2016.

A separate 300-person survey conducted by defense contractor BAE Systems also noted that 40 percent of business leaders lacked a clear understanding of cybersecurity protocols within their organizations.

“The Agile 3 Solutions software takes the technical output from other products, such as Guardium, and transforms the output into information that is consumable by a non-technical audience, such as executives and business managers in an organization. Additionally, it can help to highlight risks associated with the sensitive information assets,” said IBM Data Security Lead Nev Zunic.

With IBM sales consistently shrinking over the last 19 quarters, the company has largely turned to the sale of cloud computing and cybersecurity technologies to revive its business. The acquisition of Agile 3 Solutions follows this trend.

“There is a growing need from our customers to understand the assets they have and how they’re controlled. With the stringent compliance regulations for data such as PCI, PHI, PII and GDPR, our clients need that streamlined view into their data,” said Zunic.

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