IBM acquires BigFix with an eye on smarter data centres

6 Jul 2010

The ability to make software fixes and update security to up to 500,000 machines in a matter of minutes is one of the driving forces behind IBM’s acquisition last night of IT management platform provider BigFix software.

IBM said it has entered into an agreement to acquire BigFix, Inc., a privately-held company based in California.

The move aims to accelerate IBM’s efforts to help organisations more intelligently secure the enterprise by managing and automating security and compliance updates on thousands of computers globally. Financial details were not disclosed.

IBM said that businesses today are tasked with managing thousands of computers and ensuring they remain available, secure and at their proper configurations, according to policies and requirements.

IT security battle

As the management of PCs, servers and laptops grows even more complex, organisations are faced with higher costs and more risk to protect themselves against security threats, often with limited warning.

While many vendors broadcast security patches and updates indiscriminately, BigFix software has built-in intelligence that can identify which devices are not in compliance with corporate IT policies and recommend security fixes and timely software updates to 500,000 machines in a matter of minutes.

“BigFix automates some of the most time-intensive IT tasks across the most complex global networks, helping save organisations significant amounts of time, labour and expense,” said Al Zollar, general manager, IBM Tivoli software.

“BigFix’s real-time visibility and control for globally distributed computing devices will complement IBM’s existing smarter data centre offerings and strengthen our ability to build security into the fabric of the enterprise.”

BigFix software provides a single IT management platform that gives organisations visibility, control and automation across their computing endpoints – laptops, desktops and servers – to manage critical applications for systems life cycle, vulnerability assessment, energy-efficient computing, and configuration and security compliance.

BigFix customers

BigFix has more than 700 customers in industries such as federal, retail, entertainment, healthcare, education and financial services that use BigFix for a simplified and automated approach to managing and securing the IT infrastructure.

For example, SunTrust Bank installed BigFix software on more than 50,000 PCs, servers and mobile computers to gain real-time visibility into its IT infrastructure in a single view across nearly 1,800 branch banks.

As a result, the organisation can be proactive with its security and compliance initiatives, decreasing its patch cycle times from three weeks to three days and having a 98.5pc compliance rate throughout its enterprise.

“Organisations require tighter control of computing devices and the entire IT infrastructure, including applications, storage, servers and networks,” said Dave Robbins, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

“BigFix is excited about becoming part of the IBM team to deliver greater visibility and control to the computing infrastructure, backed by world-class sales, services, support and alliances organisations,” Robbins said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years