Google announced Tuesday, March 8, its intention to buy Mandiant, a company specializing in cybersecurity, for approximately 5.4 billion dollars (4.9 billion euros). It would be the second largest acquisition in the history of the American company, after that of assets of the equipment manufacturer Motorola in 2011, for 12.5 billion. “Organizations today face cybersecurity challenges that have accelerated in frequency, severity, and diversity, creating a global security imperative,” Google said. in a press release. Companies must be able to detect attacks quickly, analyze threats, implement remedies… They can do this in the “cloud”, dematerialized computing. “The acquisition of Mandiant will complement the existing strengths of Google Cloud in terms of security,” argues the Californian group.
Founded in 2004, Mandiant specializes in cyber attack preparedness and incident response consulting. By partnering with Google, Mandiant will be able to “implement its expertise and intelligence on a larger scale”, commented in a press release its CEO and founder, Kevin Mandia, former United States Air Force officer. Mandiant is preceded by a solid reputation in the cybersecurity community. Close to the American authorities, the company claims six hundred consultants and three hundred analysts. Of high level, the latter have specialized in particular in the study of Russian and Chinese elite pirate groups. The publication by the company, in 2013, of a thick report on the group of hackers APT1 had marked the industry of cybersecurity. The company did not hesitate – and this was a first – to point the Chinese state behind this group of hackers. She had even identified unit 61398 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as being specifically on the maneuver. Since then, Mandiant has carved out a niche for itself in the “threat intelligence” industry, namely providing enterprise clients with intelligence and technical elements enabling them to detect groups of hackers and adapt their computer defenses according to their operating methods. In 2020, Mandiant, then part of the FireEye company, had been targeted by a group of extremely sophisticated Russian hackers, looking for some of their inside information. It was by investigating their own hacking that its experts were able to uncover the one targeting the company SolarWinds, which turned out to be a vast espionage campaign targeting the US government and attributed by the latter to foreign intelligence services. Russian. Mandiant has made a name for itself primarily in the area of hacking support services. Its teams have thus had to intervene at the scene of some of the most emblematic hacks of recent years, such as the one suffered by the Sony Pictures studio in 2014.
Subject to regulatory approval
“As cyberattacks increase daily and cyberwars are launched by Russia and state-backed terrorist organizations, Google is bolstering its cybersecurity expertise with Mandiant at the right time and seeking to differentiate itself from the behemoths Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud race,” notes Dan Ives of Wedbush. Indeed, in the strategic sector of the cloud, Google is a challenger and seeks to catch up on its competitors: the company holds only 10% of the market, against 33% for Amazon and 21% for Microsoft, according to the data. Synergy Research Group in the fourth quarter of 2021. Google’s cloud division saw its revenue grow by 47% in 2021, but it remains loss-making, unlike the activities of its two rivals. The Mandiant takeover could have repercussions for the entire cybersecurity industry, as Amazon and Microsoft “are now under pressure to make acquisitions and further strengthen their own cloud platform”, says Dan Ives . Among the potential takeover candidates, according to him, are Varonis, Tenable, CyberArk, Qualys, Rapid7, SailPoint or Ping. Moreover, Microsoft was in discussion with Mandiant in order to take control, before abandoning this project a few days ago, according to the Bloomberg agency.
For Google, the acquisition of Mandiant remains subject to the authorization of the competition authorities. In the recent acquisition of the connected bracelet company Fitbit (for 2.1 billion dollars, obtaining the agreement of the regulators had taken fourteen months.
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