After the Deal Closes: Classes Discovered in M&A Cybersecurity


Jason Button leads the Cisco Safety and Belief Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) group. He was previously the director of IT at Duo Safety, an organization Cisco acquired in 2018, making him uniquely positioned to lend his experience to the M&A course of. This weblog is the continuation of a sequence targeted on M&A cybersecurity listed on the finish of this submit.


This newest weblog submit will revisit the subject of Transferring Left to Proper: Cybersecurity Practices and Outcomes in M&A Due Diligence and classes discovered from implementing Cisco’s M&A Cybersecurity Framework final 12 months.

Dimension Issues 

On this 12 months alone, Cisco has made ten acquisition bulletins, starting from small, agile start-ups to well-established, publicly traded firms. The various measurement and complexity of the businesses we’re seeking to purchase entail that we determine, assess, and alter for danger in another way.

Our M&A Cybersecurity Framework has allowed us to scale and streamline our discovery and danger evaluation processes to higher align with the extent of safety danger a deal poses. Utilizing normal safety guardrails, tooling, techniques data, and different automated processes to display screen and assess non-integrated dangers, we will draft a Discovery Danger Evaluation earlier, thereby liberating up groups to concentrate on assessing extra complicated acquisitions and doubtlessly larger safety dangers.

Accelerating Integration 

Proper-sizing your danger evaluation method has further advantages, together with the flexibility to determine areas of integration danger to speed up integration after the deal closes. An instance is the Valtix acquisition earlier this 12 months, the place we carried out an aggressive and thorough discovery investigation to shut the deal earlier than the top of April. The driving issue was the chance to debut a vital product integration demonstration in early June at Cisco Reside, our flagship buyer occasion.

To fulfill this timeline, we wanted to make sure that the safety danger was manageable and that we had stakeholder buy-in. We labored carefully with cross-functional groups to determine and prioritize danger mitigation in order that we might meet our dedication. By having a strong framework in place, we had been capable of speed up the mixing course of whereas enabling the Valtix crew to be more practical and productive in a brief period of time.

One other lesson we’ve discovered is prioritizing visibility into the acquired infrastructure earlier within the course of. Deploying instruments like Wiz.io and JuniperOne helps educate us about new environments and permits us to determine dangers sooner. That is important when triaging and prioritizing efforts between the corporate being acquired and the enterprise it is going to be absorbed into. For the Armorblox and SamKnows acquisitions, we had been capable of concentrate on high-priority dangers and spend much less time spreading efforts throughout a number of work streams. Having a framework that helps us prioritize dangers is what’s most necessary and finally makes for higher, safer merchandise.

Wanting Again to Energy Ahead 

One other necessary lesson discovered this 12 months was tips on how to apply the M&A framework to re-visit earlier acquisitions to evaluate and perceive danger. Going by means of this course of with out time constraints or diligence pressures allowed us to hone our investigative strategies and refine our practices. For instance, we labored with the Meraki crew, a mature group that was acquired over ten years in the past and a big contributor to Cisco’s portfolio. We combed by means of a decade’s value of information to tell how we might simplify and streamline key areas of our integration framework and enhance our total safety stance. 

Securely Enabling Enterprise Development 

One of many driving components for Cisco to amass firms is to determine and spend money on new improvements that can enhance the safety and efficiency of our answer portfolio. The M&A Cybersecurity crew works carefully with Cisco’s Company Improvement Integration crew to evaluate and handle danger all through the invention, diligence, and integration course of.

The M&A Cybersecurity Framework has been a helpful instrument to make sure that enterprise, engineering, and operations leaders align and concentrate on integration properly earlier than the deal closes. Operational alignment with IT, Safety, and different capabilities has helped floor necessary points, comparable to addressing workflows and consumer and buyer identities earlier than the mixing course of. We’ve additionally discovered that by elevating safety early within the M&A course of, we’re serving to the enterprise take away obstacles that would get in the best way of enterprise objectives and obtain its worth drivers quicker, which ends up in accelerated enterprise progress.

Incomes and Sustaining Belief 

Management skilled Simon Sinek has steadily said, “A crew just isn’t a gaggle of people that work collectively.  A crew is a gaggle of people that belief one another.”

Our M&A Cybersecurity Framework is a helpful instrument to assist securely allow the mergers and acquisition course of. Nevertheless, you possibly can’t underestimate the private components wanted to make it a hit. Constructing belief throughout a crew takes time and requires specializing in creating relationships, being empathetic, and demonstrating respect for an organization’s tradition.

The press launch asserting Cisco’s intention to amass Splunk cited one of many key worth propositions: “Unites two “Nice Locations to Work” with comparable values, sturdy cultures, and gifted groups.” The M&A course of is way more than the mental property and know-how being acquired; the human capital and cultural strengths are sometimes essentially the most helpful belongings.

Wanting again this 12 months, my colleague Mo Iqbal summed it up finest, “We will’t perceive the applied sciences till we perceive the folks and tradition that enabled them to be so profitable.”

If you’re fascinated about studying extra, please learn Greater than an Asset: The Folks Aspect of Mergers & Acquisitions.

Extra Sources 

Mergers and Acquisitions Cyber Danger Administration

Cybersecurity Consciousness Month

Associated Blogs 

Managing Cybersecurity Danger in M&A

Demonstrating Belief and Transparency in Mergers and Acquisitions

When It Involves M&A, Safety Is a Journey

Making Merger and Acquisition Cybersecurity Extra Manageable

Guaranteeing Safety in M&A: An Evolution, Not Revolution


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