At the end of January, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced that it would launch its first cybersecurity company, which it is calling Chronicle.
Chronicle will be a subsidiary of Alphabet (the same way that Google is), after originally being incubated in Alphabet’s so called “X” unit (AKA The Moonshot Factory) dedicated to inventing and launching “moonshot” technologies that Alphabet hopes “could someday make the world a radically better place.” (“Moonshot” refers to ground-breaking technology projects that are undertaken without any expectation of achieving profitability or some other benefit in the foreseeable future.)
As announced in a blog post, Chronicle will initially offer two services: The VirusTotal anti-malware intelligence service (acquired by Google more than half a decade ago, and run by Google and Alphabet since that time), and a cybersecurity intelligence and analytics platform that will help enterprises better manage and understand their own information-security-related data.
While details about Chronicle’s analytics platform still remain sketchy, the firm seems to be entering the crowded marketplace of services that seek to address a growing problem prevalent throughout the information security world: security systems are producing significant amounts of alerts — often, far too many for humans in infosecurity departments to properly manage and address. Remember, the number of contemporary security threats grows far faster than do information-security teams and their respective budgets — and most infosec teams are already severely understaffed.
Technologies — such as the one that Chronicle appears to be bringing to market — that analyze alerts and help decide which ones are most critical and most likely to represent genuine threats, can greatly improve the effectiveness of overburdened information security teams, and reduce the likelihood that humans will inadvertently overlook something significant.
Alphabet did not provide many details about the new service offering, nor did it disclose who its early adopters are, other than to mention that the new service is being tested by several Fortune 500 companies.
Alphabet’s entrance into the cybersecurity market is not entirely unexpected, but it does mean that some dedicated information security vendors have a new “800 lb. gorilla” with which to contend, something that could make for interesting developments later this year, both in terms of competitive landscapes and their dynamics, as well as potentially incentivizing some security pure-play firms to merge or acquire one another.