Orange Acquisition Reflects Strengthening Position of Network Providers in Enterprise Security

John Marcus
John Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • The Orange Business Services/Atheos deal has a near-term impact for large enterprise and public sector clients in France.
  • Managed network and security service providers are partnering and acquiring security specialists to improve their offers.

Orange Business Services has acquired French security specialist Atheos and its 130 workers, rebranding at least part of its security business as ‘Orange CyberDefense.’  Atheos brings strong expertise in developing access control and data loss prevention policies for large French enterprises and government agencies.  Its enterprise clients benefit from advanced identification of security breaches and vulnerabilities, the detection and analysis of ‘low-noise’ attack signals, and on-site crisis management.

Orange Business Services is already a dominant provider in France, and Atheos adds another reason for enterprises there to consider its CyberDefense portfolio for managed security and consulting services.  Following the deal, it gains a large contingent of specialist consultants skilled in identity and access management (IAM), security assessments, and auditing (including penetration testing).  All of these services were already in the Orange Business Services arsenal, with the help of vendor partners including Symantec, but Orange can now develop more solutions with internal tools and capabilities.

This is a reflection of a growing trend in Europe and elsewhere.  In 2013, Telefonica formed a new company called Eleven Paths after acquiring the security company Informatica 64, in order to develop its own security solutions based on internal innovation.  In January 2013, security software provider FireEye spent over $1 billion to acquire Mandiant, bulking up its services capabilities.  Service providers want to provide more value than managing appliance or third-party solutions on premises.  In order to do so, their dealings with security software specialists are graduating from channel partnerships to strategic ventures to outright acquisitions.

Enterprise customers should expect Orange Business Services to be even more competitive for managed security services in France, via its deeper pool of skilled security advisory consultants trained in compliance and risk management strategies as well as policy development.  Orange can also leverage these skills across Europe; Atheos’s capabilities should benefit greatly from Orange’s distributed service delivery infrastructure, particularly with French-headquartered multinationals.

Another thing the acquisition highlights is the increasing importance among large enterprises of proactive security practices that emphasize prevention of breaches through sound planning policies, as well as real-time detection and response.  Atheos’s strengths in both security policy advice and hands-on mitigation of threats are a win-win for Orange’s security clients and prospects.  Enterprises should, however, expect other service providers to play the same investment card going forward, through acquisition, partnership, or (in the case of large, well-funded providers) internal recruitment and R&D.

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