Consolidation within the media industry shows no sign of stopping. It’s happening on both sides: vendors and customers. When it comes to security vendor consolidation why is it important to look beyond the press release?

The beat goes on
Hearing about vendor consolidation or rumored consolidation is common place. It’s part and parcel of our industry.

Often consolidation is about filling ‘portfolio gaps’ in order to offer a more complete solution. As such, typical phrases that are used in the associated press releases are: “enables us to combine our strengths”, “helps us scale our innovation”, “allows us to broaden our opportunities and extend our reach”.

But it’s normal for consolidation to introduce challenges.

Typical challenges
Bringing together two companies isn’t easy. Often, with consolidation comes a period of settling down and, in some cases, loss of customer focus.

This can be compounded if the merging cultures collide; causing resentment and lack of productivity. Unifying diverse products and services can also be challenging. Any end of life assessments can be fraught with problems: demotivated staff, extra effort to manage existing customer expectations and migration activities. And then there’s the organizational flexibility. Invariably as the new organization adjusts the old processes don’t always work and the new ones haven’t been fully implemented. Understandably, there’s the possibility of delays, frustration and confusion.

For many products and services this post consolidation phase is just the cost of doing business. It’s begrudgingly accepted. But when it comes to security company consolidation, the impact can be far more significant.

Expertise not tools
Although security isn’t sexy, it does have a pivotal role to play. It’s at the heart of a pay-media providers’ business. The security vendor is your trusted advisor. They understand your end-to-end security needs. It’s more than a tool. It’s a trusted long term relationship. Consolidation in this field can have more serious repercussions, if it’s not managed correctly.

For security companies, with a partnership mentality, it’s about working with you to provide the solution to meet your specific requirements. It’s not about pushing any product in their newly enlarged portfolio just to cover the cost of acquisition. And will that cost impact your ability to have flexible business models? Can the consolidated partner be agile to move with you from OPEX to CAPEX or vice versa? More importantly, you often rely on the expertise of the vendor’s team. In some cases, they are an extension of your own organization. With the consolidation uncertainty there’s a risk that core talent is lost.

Consolidation is here to stay. However, as a customer you need to ensure that you are not sacrificed when product roadmaps are being re-written. A trusted security partner should offer you more than only technology. Helping you to stay flexible and agile is equally important, maybe it’s time to review the solutions and contracts to ensure that you are the master of your destiny?