An interview with Brendan Hannigan of IBM Security Systems

I posted the latest in my “In Their Own Words” interview series on Forbes. This one is with Brendan Hannigan–a general manager with IBM Security Systems. He still brings that entrepreneurial start-up perspective, though, because he was CEO of Q1 Labs until IBM acquired the company in 2011.

It’s been a while since I put together one of these “In Their Own Words” interviews, and this one breaks tradition in some ways. The previous interviews have focused on founders and CEOs, but this time I am diving in to learn more about Brendan Hannigan, a general manager with IBM Security Systems.

What’s the catch? Well, Hannigan was a CEO, and brings that same perspective to the table. The reason Brendan is with IBM now is that Big Blue bought his security intelligence firm, Q1 Labs, in 2011.

About IBM Security Systems
When IBM acquired Q1 Labs, it asked Hannigan to lead a new division dedicated to helping clients address security challenges. According to Gartner, that division has established itself as the third largest security software company, and IDC lists Hannigan’s group as a world leader in security services.

Hannigan explained the vision for IBM Security Services to me. “IBM’s technology and services vision can be summed up in two words: security intelligence. IBM delivers a broad portfolio of products that aim to provide remarkable insight into all aspects of a business’s activity so that unusual activity is detected and loss prevented. We are also delivering the necessary services to help customers assess their security posture, and build/operate their protections.”

I asked Hannigan if—or how—this vision reflects the mission he started out with at Q1 Labs. He told me that Q1 was built around the idea of security intelligence. “I’m an Irish guy and there are lots of castles dotting the landscape – their walled defenses are nice tourist attractions but militarily irrelevant. Our ideas are based on the simple realization that the perimeter protection paradigm that companies have relied on doesn’t work in a world where the bad actors are so sophisticated. Built upon a foundation of intelligence, we must bring security closer to the data, person and transaction.”

Check out the complete Q&A with Hannigan on Forbes: In Their Own Words: Brendan Hannigan Of IBM Security Systems.

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