In February 2011, Dell acquired SecureWorks, an IT security services leader focused on working with organizations of all sizes to protect their IT assets, comply with regulations and reduce security costs. Dell SecureWorks is led by Mike Cote who was Chairman and CEO at the time of acquisition.  We recently sat down with Mike and talked about the importance of security and how his organization is helping Dell deliver end-to-end solutions.

Mike, how does Dell SecureWorks solve complex business problems for companies?

 We help our customers solve complex business problems by handling their security needs while allowing organizations to focus on IT innovation to grow their business.  Most organizations are not resourced to effectively protect their IT environments and confidential data. They don’t have the talent nor do they have the budget to solve the problem in-house. All you have to do is scan the news from the last few weeks to understand the financial risk and potential damage to an organization’s brand when it comes to security. Having a weak corporate security posture is certainly a complex business problem. This is where Dell SecureWorks comes in.  For many of our customers, we act as an extension of their IT team to ensure they have the best protection possible, the latest intelligence to combat threats and access to the most experienced security talent in the industry. Since we serve over 3,000 customers in 70 countries, Dell SecureWorks has a broad and deep view into the global threat landscape. We see over 30 billion events a day, so we have a really good view into what is happening.  Through our technology and our people, we are able to analyze this data to create actionable information to effectively protect our customers, whether they are a small business, a university, municipality or a large enterprise. 

SecureWorks is a recognized leader by industry analysts and your team has won multiple awards. What does this recognition mean for your customers?

Being recognized for doing great work and delivering exceptional service to our customers is validation that we are doing the right things to help them solve their problems. For our customers, I truly believe our awards and recognition is an affirmation of their decision to entrust us to keep their organization safe from the bad people on the Internet.  The SC Magazine awards and recognition from industry analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester give us the greatest sense of pride. The SC Magazine Reader’s Trust award is based on actual customer feedback. Winners are selected based on direct feedback by readers who happen to be our target audience - IT and security professionals. We have won the best Managed Security Service award six out of the last seven years in the US and won the Managed Security Service Provider of the Year award for the first time in Europe last year. These awards are a great testament to our employees and the exceptional security service they deliver to our customers.  Dell SecureWorks is also positioned in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2012 Magic Quadrant for MSSPs, North America and cited as a "Leader" in "The Forrester Wave: Managed Security Services: North America, Q1 2012" report March 2012. A lot of our prospects seek the opinions of industry analysts and reference this research before making a decision on a Managed Security Service Provider. So, being recognized as a leader in this case certainly helps us with new business opportunities.

So SecureWorks has been part of the Dell family for almost 2 years, can you give me a sense of the progress of your organization?

It is a great time to be part of Dell SecureWorks. Prior to being acquired by Dell, we were enjoying an eight or nine year streak of signing a new customer every single day. Now we are trending to where signing multiple customers a day is the norm. We have always been a services business, not a product company. Building enduring relationships with our customers and acting as their security partner is the reason why historically our customer retention has been so high. As a result, we continue to build a strong recurring revenue stream with gross margins that are currently accretive to the overall business.  Year-to-date our revenue is up over 16% more than the prior year and our bookings are up over 71%. 

How does SecureWorks tie in with Dell’s goal of being an end to end solution company?

Dell SecureWorks is part of the Dell Services organization.  We tell corporations that it is not a matter of “if”, it is a reality of “when” they will be hacked. So every organization in the world needs the type of security services and consulting we provide. Every Dell line-of-business is critical when delivering an end-to-end solution to the customer.  To deliver on the promises of an end-to-end solution, you need the best security services in the industry.  We also work really well with our colleagues at Dell SonicWALL and Dell Quest. Our leadership teams recently met to determine how we can work together to deliver an even better array of security services for Dell’s customers. We are really excited about Dell’s security capabilities.

What is the future of SecureWorks? Where are we going from here?

I often tell people about the history of Internet threats - from early hackers or “Script kiddies.” to cybercrime and now well organized, targeted advanced threats. It is important to realize that we are still in the early stages of cyber warfare from a private, public and government perspective. Sadly, I don’t think we have seen the worst yet. Bad actors will continue to get smarter, stealthier and obtain better technology to meet their goals. It is our mission to constantly remain steps ahead of our customers’ adversaries.  For the thousands of security professionals at Dell – this is a way of life. This is our chosen profession. As long as there are threats out there, Dell will be there to protect businesses around the world.