May 13, 2015

All The Right Pieces

Ashok Sankar

Why the Raytheon/Websense venture will succeed where defense firms have struggled.

As RSA 2015 vendors and buyers alike woke up on a pleasant San Francisco Monday morning, a big bang disrupted the conference before it even started.

Raytheon announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Vista Equity Partners to form a new company combining Websense, a Vista portfolio company, with Raytheon Cyber Products. This joint venture brings to market a formidable solution provider and partner offering defense-grade cyber solutions to defend against advanced threats.

Though the news was largely well-received, a question remained: Can a defense contractor succeed in a commercial market?

I'm excited and optimistic about the alliance and its prospects. Here's why: 

  • The Raytheon/Websense deal will unite two of the most innovative companies in the security marketplace, both of which share truly complementary visions and strategies. Industry analysts share this view and have cited it frequently when explaining why the combination makes sense.
  • The new company will have board representation from both Raytheon and Vista Equity Partners. This leadership structure will fuse the cutting-edge innovation from Raytheon's defense background with the nimble agility and commercial enterprise expertise of Websense.
  • Cybersecurity is no longer a point product game. Security teams are operating with scarce financial and human resources. And even when best-of-breed solutions are integrated, they're often disparate within the enterprise, which leaves their overall protection lagging behind threats. This partnership will allow us to offer a seamlessly-integrated suite of solutions that addresses advanced threat challenges from endpoint-to-endpoint.
  • Enterprises have long invested in security technologies and need to extract the maximum returns on their investments. The open architecture mindset of both Raytheon and Websense will permeate the new organization, putting to rest any worries that past security investments will go unleveraged.
  • Because the combined entity is backed by Raytheon and Vista, customers can rest assured we'll support their investments in our solutions for many years to come.

In short, the combination of Raytheon and Websense will result in a strong organization tailor-made to address the needs of the commercial enterprise market. And it signals Raytheon's commitment to continue it's leadership in the cyber realm.

Ashok Sankar is the Senior Director of Cyber Product Strategy and Management for Raytheon.

About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.