2 minutes on ... EMC and RSA unite

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This year has been a big one for security mergers and acquisitions, but it is likely that no deal will be as momentous as the one announced by EMC Corporation and RSA Security in July.

The world's most powerful storage player is picking up one of the oldest security firms in the market for more than $2 billion in a deal that analysts expect to be a milestone for storage security.

The deal acts as an acknowledgement to customers who expect more from a storage market that is slow at integrating security into the product mix, said Jon Oltsik of Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Enterprise customers are pushing back on their vendors regardless of what their vendors are selling," he said. "Five years ago storage vendors had a free pass on security. They don't have a free pass anymore. Their equipment has to be secure and it has to be compliance ready."

According to Oltsik, the move is primarily directed by EMC's desire to improve its customers' overall security.

"People spend a lot of money securing networks, but they're still getting breached," he said. "EMC's perspective is that security needs to move closer to the data and away from the IT infrastructure. This acquisition gives them the tools to do that."

But analysts believe that EMC customers are not the only ones that will benefit from the RSA purchase. Because the companies are larger-than-life forces in their respective niches, it is inevitable that the pairing will affect both markets profoundly.

Charles King of Pund-IT said that he expects to see more security development and acquisitions from other storage players as they react to this landmark deal.

"If you are a storage vendor that is partnering with RSA, you are now partnering with EMC," King said. "Will other vendors continue working with RSA?"

Oltsik said that EMC has increased the stakes, and as it begins to integrate RSA technology into its systems it will drive the storage market as a whole to better integrate security into information lifecycle management (ILM).

"I think the age of ILM is dead and the age of secure ILM has begun," he said. "Without security, ILM is DOA. When you start copying data and moving data, you better encrypt it, manage the keys and manage identities or no one is going to buy it. This [deal] proves that."

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