Google will buy cybersecurity firm Mandiant for $5.4 billion, an acquisition Google says will give it new capabilities to respond to cybersecurity threats and bolster its cloud platform.
Mandiant will be folded into Google’s Cloud Platform, according to a statement. The acquisition is anticipated to close by the year’s end.
“Organizations around the world are facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges as the sophistication and severity of attacks that were previously used to target major governments are now being used to target companies in every industry,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO for Google Cloud, in a statement.
Mandiant has made a name for itself for its top-tier incident response services, which help organizations figure out how they were breached and who may be responsible. It also offers managed detection and response services, through which it continually helps clients monitor their systems. The company is noted for its advanced intelligence analysis, particularly of nation-state actors such as Russia and China.
Enterprises are facing an increasingly hostile cybersecurity landscape. Defenders realize that it’s unrealistic to fend off all attacks, and much of the focus is now on capabilities to detect intrusions quickly. Security companies, including Google and Mandiant, have developed tools and methods to more quickly detect when intruders have compromised or are trying to compromise their systems. Increasingly, they’re also looking to automate some of those defensive actions to quickly reduce damage and the potential theft of data.
“There has never been a more critical time in cybersecurity,” said Kevin Mandia, CEO for Mandiant. Merging with Google Cloud “will deliver expertise and intelligence at scale, changing the security industry.”
Google says Mandiant’s “real-time and in-depth threat intelligence gained on the frontlines of cybersecurity” will enhance security measures for the cloud-native.
Good Move for Google
Garret Grajek, CEO and founder of cloud security firm YouAttest, says this is “an excellent move for Google.”
Grajek says Mandiant has a solid track record of identifying emerging attacks. With growing concerns around identity and threat vectors, he says, a cloud service must “detect, warn and respond to threats.”
Forrester vice president and principal analyst Jeff Pollard and analyst Allie Mellen write that Google has been playing catch-up in respect to competitor Microsoft, but Mandiant’s expertise should help expand Google’s Cybersecurity Action Team.
Earlier this year, Google announced it would acquire Siemplify, which is a security orchestration, automation and response tool, as it looked to strengthen its security tools. Mandiant’s MDR tools will add to that, Pollard and Mellen write.
The Forrester analysts also write that Mandiant’s research and forensics will complement Google’s Project Zero, which researches potential high-impact software vulnerabilities.
“Two well-regarded research teams get to mix and match information and expertise, which could lead to interesting advancements and discoveries in attacker activity and techniques to defend enterprises,” they write.
Dan Ives, a Wall Street tech analyst, says the deal means significant changes for cloud security.
This is all about Mandiant being further integrated into Google Cloud with more cyber threats facing enterprises on the shift to cloud and Mandiant establishing itself as the Navy Seals of cyber security. We believe this deal will have a major ripple impact across the tech space.
— Dan Ives (@DivesTech) March 8, 2022
Over the past month, Microsoft was rumored to be courting Mandiant after Bloomberg first reported on the developments.
“After divorcing FireEye, Mandiant spent very little time being single as suitors lined up. Rumors swirled that Microsoft was the destination, but Google came in and outbid Microsoft for the firm,” said Forrester’s Pollard. “GCP is playing catch-up to Microsoft in cybersecurity and lacks its competitors’ inherent advantages in the enterprise: endpoint and Active Directory. That forces it to pay a premium and be more aggressive, which it’s signaled a willingness to do.”
Road to Mandiant Deal
Mandiant – and its sister firm FireEye – have long been courted by big tech and security players.
In October 2021, antivirus software giant McAfee Enterprise merged with FireEye. Symphony Technology Group sponsored the purchase in an all-cash buy for $1.2 billion, according to a statement released by FireEye.
Bryan Palma, the CEO of the combined firms, spoke about changing the course of security when the merger was announced, saying that by combining forces with McAfee, the two would set industry standards and produce innovation in the cybersecurity world.
Network and security firm Cisco had also prepared a bid to acquire FireEye in February 2020. After a lengthy discussion, Cisco decided not to move forward with the acquisition, according to reports by CRN.