Apr 24, 2023 - Technology

Exclusive: Google opens its security tools to competitors' platforms

Illustration of the Google logo with a spotlight shining on it.

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio, Axios

Google is leaning into flexibility as part of a new strategy to stymie the impact of belt-tightening among cyber chiefs.

Driving the news: Google Cloud and Mandiant, the threat intelligence unit it acquired last year, unveiled at the RSA Conference in San Francisco today that they're opening their security products to integrations from competitors, as well as offering new Google plug-ins for other vendors' tools.

  • The news, which was shared first with Axios, means that Google customers will now have more options to embed Google's tools in partner companies' products, like CrowdStrike, Trellix and SentinelOne.
  • Other companies, like Accenture and login management company Okta, will also be integrating their products into Google's as part of the plan.

Why it matters: Chief information security officers are facing increasing board pressure during a wobbly economy to cut down the number of vendors they work with and simplify their security programs.

What they're saying: "Ultimately we think we reach more of the world if we can work with more partners and really look at these win-win situations," Eric Doerr, vice president of engineering for cloud security at Google Cloud, told Axios.

  • "It doesn't have to be our way or our technology," Marshall Heilman, chief technology officer at Mandiant, told Axios. "And that's what it really means to have an open end-to-end ecosystem."

How it works: Google Cloud's partnership expansion will let customers integrate various threat intelligence and product security products into its offerings.

  • Accenture, an IT services and consulting group, is integrating its entire cloud infrastructure managed services operation with Google Cloud's Chronicle Security Operations hub for incident response, threat intelligence and event management tools.
  • Customers of Google Workspace will soon be able to integrate login verification tools from Okta and device management tools from VMWare into their Google dashboards.
  • Customers of CrowdStrike, SentinelOne, Trellix and other partners can also now plug in Mandiant's threat intelligence tools to their programs. Doing this allows those customers to see information about an ongoing attack inside the same security programs they'd need to deploy to fix it.

Between the lines: Google executives argue their push towards product integrations is more in-depth than similar approaches from competitors.

  • "We want to figure out how we can augment the technology you already have in place to make your security posture that much stronger — not rip-and-replace so we can make a bunch of money," Heilman said.

Yes, but: Integrating third-party vendors into a company's security operations bring additional risk for supply chain attacks, where hackers gain access to a network through a weakness in another vendor.

  • "We just wouldn't do business with someone who we didn't think was taking security seriously," Doerr said.

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