Aon buys cybersecurity consultancy Stroz Friedberg, adds 500 staff

24 October 2016 Consultancy.uk

Professional services firm Aon has acquired Stroz Friedberg, a global risk management firm based in New York, with offices across the US, as well as in London, Zurich, Dubai and Hong Kong. Stroz Friedberg's more than 550 employees will be integrated into Aon’s Risk Solutions arm.

Founded in 2000, by Eric Friedberg (a former federal prosecutor at US Attorney's Office) and Ed Stroz (a former Special Agent at the FBI and Deloitte alumnus), Stroz Friedberg has in the past sixteen years grown into one of the US’s leading risk management businesses. The firm specialises in digital forensics, incident response, and security science, and in particular enjoys a strong track record in the cybersecurity space.

Aon’s pickup of Stroz Friedberg is the latest reflection of the growing interest from professional services firms in cybersecurity experts, against the backdrop of a flourishing consultancy market, as more and more organisations direct their budgets to protect their digital frontiers from e-criminals. For instance, in July Accenture acquired Maglan and PwC Advisory purchased Everett – the first half of 2016 saw more than ten major cybersecurity deals in the consulting space alone. 

Today, the global economy from cybercrime stands at between $375 billion and $575 billion, according to estimates from McAfee, and, looking ahead, the researchers believe the market is set to continue its booming growth track as trends such as Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 lift the number of connected devices which are ripe for hacking. The development has, after a slow start years ago, caught the eyes of executives. A study released by KPMG last month conducted among almost 1,300 CEOs found that organisations now place cybersecurity in the top of their strategic priorities, and expect to channel significantly more funds into the realm compared to the year previous. The shift is seeing technology spending in the field spiral, and, at the other end of the cyber defence spectrum, is also lifting the cybersecurity insurance market to record heights. 

Aon buys cybersecurity consultancy Stroz Friedberg

With the addition of Stroz Friedberg, Aon, already one of the globe’s largest players in the advisory landscape for risk services, competing with the likes of Marsh and the Big Four, says in a bold statement that it will propel the firm into pole position for cyber risk management. "Aon and Stroz Friedberg have highly complementary end-to-end cyber risk management solutions and services. This bold step greatly expands Aon's cyber solutions and differentiates us from our competition”, explains John Bruno, Aon's Executive Vice President of Enterprise Innovation and Chief Information Officer.

Offerings that will be added to Aon’s footprint include cybersecurity governance and advisory services, penetration testing, incident response, digital forensics, eDiscovery, due diligence capabilities and cyber assessments. Stroz Friedberg's more than 550 employees will join Aon's Cyber Solutions Group across offices in five countries. As part of the deal, Michael Patsalos-Fox, Stroz Friedberg's CEO, will become the CEO and co-chair of Aon's Cyber Solutions Group. Bruno will join Patsalos-Fox in the boardroom and as co-chair of this new group.

Commenting on the joining of forces, Patsalos-Fox says, “Both Stroz Friedberg and Aon know that businesses face greater systemic risk from cyber threats than ever before, and both understand that companies need an integrated approach to mitigate this risk and achieve resilience. By joining forces with Aon we will have the scale and platform to satisfy the growing market need for a comprehensive solution.”

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

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