IBM Officially Owns Resilient Systems

It’s officially final; IBM has “completed the acquisition” of Resilient Systems, Inc. We are now “Resilient, an IBM Company.”

As I expected when I announced this acquisition, I am staying on as the CTO of Resilient and something like Senior Advisor to IBM Security—we’re still working on the exact title. Everything I’ve seen so far indicates that this will be a good home for me. They know what they’re getting, and they’re still keeping me on. I have no intention of changing what I write about or speak about—or to whom.

For the company, this is still a great deal. The acquisition was big news at the RSA Conference a month ago, and we’ve gotten nothing but a positive response from analysts and a primarily positive response from customers.

Here’s a video of Resilient CEO John Bruce talking with IBM Security General Manager Marc van Zadelhoff about the acquisition. And here’s an analyst talking about the acquisition.

Posted on April 6, 2016 at 12:47 PM37 Comments


MarkS April 6, 2016 1:26 PM

IBM has been very gradually going down the tubes for years. They’ve been regularly retrenching huge numbers of staff and slowly destroying their core business for the sake of keeping their profits and share price high.

The only question now is how much longer they can last in their present form. My guess is less than five years.

But I suppose Resilient and Bruce Schneier will be okay, for the short term at least.

Bruce Schneier April 6, 2016 1:28 PM

“Good luck. You’re going to be a hard nut for IBM to swallow.”

Nuts are hard to crack, not swallow. And I would leave before that happens.

yes-name April 6, 2016 1:41 PM

If I was a nut, I would rather be swallowed then cracked… and I still expect it to be challanging 😉

Spaceman Spiff April 6, 2016 2:09 PM

Well Bruce, you have sold yourself quite profitably several times over the years, BT, IBM, … I am not knocking that, but sometimes I have to wonder if you are in the business for the $$ or to make us more secure?

What? April 6, 2016 2:23 PM

@Spaceman Spiff

People go into business for the money. If it’s not profitable, it isn’t good business.

Who cares if Bruce is in it for the dollars? Why shouldn’t he be able to afford a comfortable life?

Good security = good business for companies like IBM; the two aren’t (nor should be) mutually exclusive.

Bruce Schneier April 6, 2016 2:52 PM

“…but sometimes I have to wonder if you are in the business for the $$ or to make us more secure?”

The business is to make money by making our customers more secure. Trying to make the world more secure encompasses all the things I do that no one pays me for. And IBM knows that none of that will change.

keiner April 6, 2016 3:01 PM


When you are getting older you have to take care that there is enough firewood for the winter. So: Don’t judge people for being human. Just expect them to be…

tyr April 6, 2016 3:26 PM

When IBM got into the PC business it turned the
whole industry in a new direction, for good or
ill depends on your viewpoint. If they get serious
about comp security it might make a big difference
in securing a lot of things that need to be cleaned
up. If they can make some money and turn the mess
around it should be applauded. They have the
muscle needed for the job and the leverage.

LG April 6, 2016 4:26 PM

IBM knows it’s a big world out there. Betraying your customers for NSA is not the only market niche, and it’s not the biggest one. Have fun making that weasel Ledgett cry.

Spellucci April 6, 2016 5:03 PM

Congratulations, Bruce. My company is a big IBM customer. When they buy a company, they buy the best in class, and use it to augment their already top-notch portfolio. They then invest to integrate their purchase with their overall product suite. I’d say Resilient has a bright future with IBM.

Justin Andrusk April 6, 2016 5:25 PM

Sorry, but I’ve yet to see a security acquisition by IBM not to turn to cow dung within a year.

Bruce Schneier April 6, 2016 5:42 PM

“My company is a big IBM customer. When they buy a company, they buy the best in class, and use it to augment their already top-notch portfolio. They then invest to integrate their purchase with their overall product suite. I’d say Resilient has a bright future with IBM.”

Thank you.

That’s the optimistic side. The pessimistic side is the comment below yours. At this point, I am optimistic.

Anura April 6, 2016 6:22 PM

As a socialist that works for a major US bank, I find it best to keep my politics and my work separate. I keep my cynicism to myself, and only condemn my employer anonymously, referring only to things in public knowledge (not that I’m privy to the deep dark secrets, or anything interesting, in the first place).

Wael April 6, 2016 8:57 PM

Lol at my spelling!

Can’t byte the hand that feeds you.

But you can nibble on it 🙂

Charles April 6, 2016 9:15 PM

People go into business for the money, but I think it’s the whistle blower syndrome that became somewhat mainstream in recent years, which must be avoided. The recent spells of Panama Papers had put this back into public scope.

kakaa April 7, 2016 12:02 AM

@Charles, what are you talking about? We don’t want to avoid whistleblowing, we need as much whistleblowing as possible.

Clive Robinson April 7, 2016 4:20 AM

@Wael, @Nick P, @Anura,

Can’t b[i]te the hand that feeds you. Anonymously or otherwise!

It’s also unwise to bite a hand that has once fed you. I’ve gone back to previous employers twice in my career… I’ve also on one occasion joined a company to find others I’ve previously worked with (which can be embarising when you discover you have become the boss of somebody who used to be your boss, trust me no matter how good you both are it’s awkward).

It’s why I rarely name names or even genders using “they” rather than “he” or “she”.

However some people appear capable of surviving and even prospering from a fauxpar…

A war story :- as I’ve mentioned I used to wear the green. Well at an Officer’s event, one officer discribed in quite graphic detail a parachuting accident where somebody “creamed in”. Unbeknown to the officer telling the tale the spouse of the deceased was an invited guest to the mess and heard the whole story… One finding out slightly later the Officer went across to the deceased spouse and appologised, I don’t know what they said, but six months later the pair of them were married…

Clive Robinson April 7, 2016 4:38 AM

@ Bruce,

The pessimistic side is the comment below yours

That raised a smile.

There are many sayings both optomistic and pessimistic people could make, which just goes to show “You never can tell”.

So I’ll just wish you and your colleagues well for the future.

As for those making comments about IBM, yes they have put their foot wrong many a time including the oft quoted comment by the president of IBM who oversaw that company’s greatest growth, forecasting that the world would need only four computers. But they have also put their foot in the right direction to survive and thrive and be one of the oldest IT companies still around.

wiredog April 7, 2016 5:43 AM

Hope they paid cash, or that you converted any IBM stock to cash immediately. From what I hear they’re laying off 1/4th of their employees each year these days, oldest ones first, and you’re not young. Good luck.

Christopher April 7, 2016 6:51 AM

Whatever financial windfall this delivers, bank it. Double-down on preserving and securing your professional reputation. My prediction is that in two years, you’ll be writing an exit speech from IBM, and not because of anything you did wrong. Good luck, enjoy the ride.


DavidFMM April 7, 2016 8:01 AM

Facinating. As Christopher says, you (as an individual) will likely be let go through a “resource action” from Resilient: An IBM Company in the reasonably near future (you’re too expensive, Bruce, when they can hire an outsourced person for a tenth of the price). It’s not about quality, it is about “shareholder value”. And it’s not about delivering on their (IBM’s) promises, nor contractual obligations. Ask the droves of IT customer’s currently leaving IBM. The IBM IT Consulting Services business (I assume that Resilient will be a part of IBM’s Security Services offerings) is tanking big time, mostly due to IBM failing to follow through on their contracts. New customers are becoming increasingly hard to find as well.

I know because I work in the IT consulting business. The company I currently work for is a direct competitor to IBM Consulting Services. We got the current project I am on because IBM was fired from it. I have weekly meetings with the client and there is a repeating conversation with the client where they tell me something that IBM told them couldn’t be done and I then say that IBM lied and here’s how you do it.

I would predict that the best you can hope for is that Resilient will be sold off or spun off. If Resilient stays with IBM too long, it will probably destroy Resilient’s reputation. I’d hate to see that happen.

John Moore April 7, 2016 8:13 AM


I am glad that IBM has increased the funds in your bank account and enriched your stock portfolio. But, their management is inept and what was once a great company is little more than a venture capitalist and patent troll at the moment. I would like to think that they'll turn themselves around, but current events show otherwise. If they leave your firm alone, you'll be fine. If they mismanage and sell it wrong, you'll probably just end up leaving for Harvard. So, here's to academia and let IBM go where its blundering takes it. 

Good luck!


Wael April 7, 2016 10:29 AM


IBM helped the Nazis. I would quit if I were you.

How ’bout changing your name before you quit? Not that it’s hypocrisy or anything…

In the meantime: Sieg Heil!, Mein Fuhrer!!! I thought you were hiding in Argentina!

Clive Robinson April 7, 2016 10:54 AM

@Adolf :

IBM helped the Nazis.

So did many large european companies, and quite a number of what we now call international or trans-national companies.

The early 1930’s were fairly dire for most of europe and the US, from Hitler becoming chancellor and the fire in the German Parliament building which was used as an excuse to halt the fledgling democracy Germany became the premier industrial economy in europe. Populations voted by 9:1 to become part of Germany which had work, food, money and an increasing standard of living.

Any company not trying to get a slice of that action would find it’s directors sacked by it’s share holders.

There is a huge myth about pre 1938 which the primary historical documents do not in any way support.

The truth is most of europe the US and many other people in nations around the world looked upon Hittler and National Socialism as being the way of the future. Further most of Hitler’s early behaviour was voted for by the German citizens including the likes of the Nuremburg legislation which was in effect the first legislated steps of what became the Holocaust.

The fact that Hitler did not change in any way his demands for eastward land and got it was because of appeasement by the majority of politicians. Even Russia appeased and tried to buy Hitler off with political and economic deals.

Both Germany and Japan had plans to invade what they regarded as land they should have and planed to squeeze what they regarded as “sub humans” into either starvation or Siberia and other wastelands. They did not hide these plans they openly talked about them, and many many people openly agreed with them. Even members of the English aristocracy agreed and there was talk of likewise doing similar in the British Empire. As some historians have noted, thank God that the British King abdicated within the year…

ianf April 7, 2016 12:35 PM

#FTR lightly annotated Clive Robinson:

    […] “Even members of the English aristocracy agreed [to territorial conquest and the need for “racial purification” policies] and there was talk of likewise acting similar in the British Empire. As some historians have noted, thank God [there is no such entity, hence the invocation is rhetorical] that the [Nazi-friendly] British King abdicated [in 1936] ”

EXHIBIT A (out of ∞):

How far did the UK aristocracy’s love of the Nazis really go?

Bruce Schneier April 7, 2016 8:48 PM

“So when does your IBM Fellowship kick in, Bruce?”

Right now, there are no plans to make me a fellow. I agree that it’s an obvious place for me if I stay long term.

Red Neddock April 9, 2016 5:03 AM

Congratulations Bruce.

IBM wouldn’t have got very far if it excluded clever people from the mix just because of what they might think or say. Being able to objectively question the world around us and look at it from wildly different view points has helped allow us to develop modern technology. Long standing institutions like IBM and Bell Laboratories have had a history of giving unconventional, outspoken and sometimes challenging individuals the freedom and support to develop revolutionary ideas and inventions that gave birth to many of the technologies of today.

Being able to tactfully engage ones self in conversation with people of many different view points and not only remain civil but also win mutual respect from one another is very important to maintaining the harmony of any community.

Often I struggle more with maintaining civil interaction with people of similar Green beliefs regarding environmental responsibility than those other Red Neck friends of mine with a more shoot it or root it attitude. Probably my rural origins are all too easy for the city hippie to spot and due to the violence and intimidation usually directed at them by my country brethren, many can’t help but see another strangely less intimidating but definite bumpkin of some rural persuasion.

People don’t often mind that you have different beliefs as long as you respect their beliefs, treat them respectfully, and can conduct yourself appropriately in any given situation that might arise.Only a Red Neck is allowed to spit on his own bulldozer seat for example or mock his current employment, something often completely misunderstood by Greenies from more urban settings.

Funnily enough it seems tables have and are continuing turning these days as Greenie kids from the city are now becoming aligned with rural farming people, while similarly security and privacy advocates are finding they share some common interests with businesses in the information and technology sector. Technology changes the world so fast now that everyone that has a stake in it’s development also must endeavour to protect our collective future.

Fascist Nation April 10, 2016 12:46 PM

While there are many things one can say that are negative about IBM or make fun of about IBM, they were very much about stability and security in their products. It strikes me as a good acquisition.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.