Perhaps following the security trajectory blazed by their nemesis to the north, Microsoft, Oracle is signaling that it is on the cusp of getting serious about security.
Word comes today, in a story published at CNET’s News.com site, that Larry Ellison will take the podium to speak at the RSA Conference 2007, slated for February. If it comes to pass, it will be the first time Oracle CEO Ellison has spoken at the biggest event on the security-industry calendar.
In recent years, the security of Oracle’s products and its security practices have come under increasing attack. As Gartner analyst John Pescatore summarizes:
Oracle has lost the high ground in security. I think this is part of them seeking to come back.
What better way to stage a comeback than to set Ellison loose before the gathered security cognoscenti at the RSA conference?
Well, as Pescatore and others point out, it would be advisable for Oracle to do more than talk about security.
Before Ellison bounds up the steps at RSA to make his pitch, Oracle would be wise to have made appreciable and sustained progress at plugging security holes in its software and at correcting its wayward security practices, including its truculent dealings with security researchers. What Ellison says to the crowd would carry more weight if he can cite tangible progress the company has made toward rectifying its security shortcomings.
Another interesting aspect to this development is to see wonder whether it is a harbinger of security acquisitions by Oracle.
When Microsoft first announced its commitment to security, with Bill Gates hitting the hustings to tell anybody who would listen that Microsoft was serious about cleaning up the security mess it had created, the oratory was followed (and occasionally preceded) by actual deeds, including security acquisitions.
Since 2003, as Microsoft increasing proclaimed its commitment to the security of its software offerings, the company has acquired six security-related companies. Although Oracle’s needs will be different than Microsoft’s, it could be about to embark on a similarly focused shopping expedition.