In the days following the announcement that Dell was buying SecureWorks, the Atlanta-based provider of Internet security services to more than 600 credit unions has had to put out some fires.
The acquisition has raised the question: Will SecureWorks continue to focus on the needs of its 1,500 or so community financial institution clients or will that relationship erode as the larger corporation focuses the formerly independent company's resources elsewhere?
"We've seen a little bit of an interesting skirmish about it among credit unions, some of that created by a competitor in our space. But we are absolutely committed to the credit union segment," says Kathy Jaques, SecureWorks' chief marketing officer.
She also provided this statement from her new boss, Dell Services President Peter Altabef: "I want to say personally that Dell Services is absolutely committed to seeing that SecureWorks continues to deliver outstanding service to current clients. The cultures at Dell Services and SecureWorks are very similar with both organizations owing their success to great client service and satisfaction - this is a key reason we believe our organizations will be a great fit. Your satisfaction is paramount."
Elizabeth Clarke, vice president of corporate communications at SecureWorks, adds, "We're retaining our staff and our offices. We're retaining our name. And all of our leadership team has been made offers and accepted them. The expertise we have is very critical to the credit union market and was very attractive to Dell and they're not taking it away now."
The 10-year-old operation has about 700 employees and provides 7/24 Internet monitoring, anti-Trojan and virus and threat analysis and takedown services. Dell Services provides application, storage, infrastructure and consulting services and employs about 43,000 but they share a similar culture, says Marvin Singleton, a communications team member of the operation that emerged from Dell's $3.9 billion purchase of Plano, Texas-based Perot Systems in 2009.
Singleton also says "there's no overlap in anything that we provide today" between SecureWorks and Dell Services. (The SecureWorks purchase closely follows Dell's acquisition of storage specialist Compellent Technologies and is seen by analysts as another move by the computer hardware giant to expand and consolidate its move into the cloud computing and services space.)
Singleton also says his company has received favorable analyst reviews and numerous awards for its service and adds, "Dell Services looks at clients in terms of long-time relationships and we have many of them. Every client is critical to us and we look forward to having SecureWorks becoming part of our team and continuing to provide the outstanding customer support that we're both known for."
Jaques at SecureWorks also notes that the SecureWorks name will remain with the organization and that rather than stifling innovation, as some have speculated, its acquisition by Dell will provide it access to new sources of capital and human investment.
She also says her operation is seen as critical by Dell Services not just for the revenue, but "because the financial industry tends to lead a lot of others in keeping out on the front edge of what we do, in part because our clients are so heavily regulated and it's so important for us to help keep them in compliance."
"We all feel very good about this," she says.