Some are broken with great fanfare while others pass with hardly a notice. One of those unnoticed records was broken last year, as over $5 trillion was spent on publicly disclosed mergers and acquisitions (M&As) deals. That is nearly double the UK’s GDP. 2022 is unlikely to reach such heights, however, that does not mean M&As are not still happening.
Since the start of the year, we have already seen AMD acquire Pensando for $1.9 billion, and Prologis announce its acquisition of Duke Reality for $26 billion. Fueling these M&A deals is the fact that every business in every sector needs skills, technology, and more infrastructure. These are challenges that will not be disappearing soon, so you can expect more M&A deals to take place.
Now the work begins
On paper, this sounds like great news for all involved. Shareholders unlock more value, the business gains skills and technology it was previously lacking and new opportunities are created. However, for those working behind the scenes, the story is quite different. The list of tasks that need to be completed is large and growing. Whether it’s HR, sales, customer service, or finance, there are a lot of tasks that need to be completed quickly, and correctly if an M&A is to be a success. One area where stress levels run particularly high is with IT and security teams. Consolidating multiple tech stacks and cloud environments together is a task fraught with risk. Making even the smallest mistake and it can quickly lead to outages, lost revenue, and even regulatory fines.
Regulatory compliance is an especially big minefield for enterprises operating in the UK and EU. In the EU, with GDPR in place, losses of personal data can lead to huge fines that quickly evaporate any financial benefits created by an M&A. While the UK’s recent announcement of its Data Reform Bill will create a level of uncertainty until it is finally approved by parliament. In both regions, however, the need to make any data breaches public can have a huge impact on the value and success of an M&A deal, as was famously seen with Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo.
The risks then for IT and security teams trying to integrate multiple IT and cloud infrastructures are huge. On top of this, there is the fact that the way infrastructure evolves and develops over time, which rarely makes integration a straightforward process. Often IT teams run parallel environments while they consolidate connections, merge data silos and account for access points.
All these actions create complexity and silos data, which is a major challenge for IT teams that need to carefully knit everything together, and ensure security is maintained throughout.
Once an M&A deal is signed, in an instant, the attack surface that IT and security teams need to manage is doubled. Making matters worse is the fact that often there is data stored at the edge. All this data needs to be accessed and discovered if it is to be protected, which is especially
important if it holds personal and sensitive information. With data dispersed across multiple storage solutions, getting a full picture of the situation can be incredibly hard.
Unfortunately for IT and security teams, the tools that are often used to help manage data and consolidate infrastructure are simply not fit for purpose and up to the task. Providing only limited capabilities, the tools on offer have only a narrow scope for the collection of data that is needed. Often this results in data at the edge being ignored or forgotten as it cannot be easily accessed. With the level and value of M&A deals hitting new heights, the lack of access to the right tooling cannot continue as it risks leaving IT and security teams exposed if the worst does happen.
New tools are needed
This no longer has to be the case. New tools are now emerging that are designed to help with the tasks IT and security teams face during an M&A deal. One such technology is observability pipelines, which make it much easier to manage, process, and optimize data in the cloud, on-prem, and at the edge. Being able to discover and process observability data right at its source, these tools, are finally giving IT and security teams the tools, they need to carefully consolidate IT and cloud infrastructures. In fact, observability pipelines can explore logs, metrics, and application data right at its egress point, allowing it to be interrogated close to its source before it is decided how it should be processed, managed, and stored. Reducing the risk of a data breach and resulting fines and reputation damage, fine-grained controls can be used to redact, filter, mask, and even reduce data volumes. By taking
these actions as observability data is in transit, attack surfaces can be eliminated, decreasing the risks associated with an M&A deal. Enhancing their use further, observability pipelines can also be run in the cloud and therefore managed from any browser, anywhere. This gives teams both the tools and flexibility needed to carefully consolidate cloud environments during an M&A.
Last year saw records broken for the amount of money spent on M&A deals, however for all this investment to achieve its ROI, enterprises need to ensure their IT and security teams have the tools to manage the consolidation process correctly. With so much at stake, investing in tools such as observability pipelines can be the best decision made for an M&A. Reducing security risks, simplifying tasks, and speeding up the completion of a deal, will increase the success rates of M&As.
By Nick Heudecker, Senior Director of Market Strategy at Cribl.