Splunk’s data analytics gets a security boost with $350 million acquisition of Phantom Cyber

The data analytics service provider Splunk is giving itself a security upgrade with its $350 million cash and stock acquisition of the security automation technology developer, Phantom Cyber.

One of the new darlings of the security industry, Phantom Cyber launched just four years ago to automate responses to digital threats.

Part of a new breed of tools that use network analysis and machine learning to respond to potential security breaches, Phantom Cyber had previously raised $22.7 million in funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, the In-Q-Tel (the investment group affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency), according to Crunchbase.

Following the acquisition, Phantom Cyber’s executive team will report in to Splunk’s head of security products.

“Sourabh Satish and I founded Phantom to give SOC analysts a powerful advantage over their adversaries, a way to automatically and quickly resolve threats,” said Oliver Friedrichs, Founder and chief executive of Phantom Cyber, in a statement. “Combining SOAR with the industry’s leading big data platform is a revolutionary advance for security and IT teams and will further cut down the time it takes them to eliminate threats and keep the business running.”

As cyber security threats increase — and become increasingly automated — overtaxed security teams inside companies are trying to automate their responses. Automation is also critical for companies since there aren’t enough cybersecurity experts to meet increasing demand.

This isn’t Splunk’s first foray into the security business. The company has steadily built up an expertise in the security market, first through its acquisition of Caspida for roughly $200 million in late 2015 to gain some expertise in real time threat detection and then last year with the purchase of SignalSense, a breach detection service, for an undisclosed amount.

In the future, Splunk expects Phantom Cyber to automate more than just security responses, the company said in a statement — anticipating a change that was predicted by the consulting and analysis firm Gartner earlier this year.

By 2022, 40% of all large enterprises will combine big data and machine learning tools to support and replace monitoring, service desk and automation processes and tasks, up from 5 percent today, the firm predicted.