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The Total Economic Impact Of IBM Resilient

Executive Summary

IBM provides a security incident response (IR) solution called Resilient that helps its customers address security incidents quickly in an automated and orchestrated manner. IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic ImpactTM (TEI) study and examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying Resilient. The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of the Resilient platform on their organizations.

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed a Resilient customer with several years of experience using the solution. Forrester found that, as an incident response platform, the solution provides significant benefits by shortening the response time for security incidents through the enablement of automation and orchestration to security professionals — effectively shortening the time-to-contain security incidents. Security tools and devices across the enterprise are more frequently put into play sooner with dynamic playbooks that cut analysis and triage times required by incident responders.

Prior to using Resilient, the interviewed customer leveraged a ticketing system that provided little in the way of automation. This system yielded limited success, leaving the customer with little intelligence due to a lack of integration to the security tool stack. These limitations led to the need for a significant army of security professionals who needed to be specialized in a wide variety of security areas to be able to identify and contain threats.

Key Findings

Quantified benefits. The interviewed organization experienced the following risk-adjusted present value (PV) quantified benefits:

  • Orchestration and automation saved 25 minutes per security analyst and over an hour in total per security incident. With over 350 cybersecurity incidents per week, the interviewed organization was saving nearly 22,750 hours of security analyst man-hours in the first year. Accounting for the rise in cybersecurity incidents over the years and the relative high cost of security analysts, this translated to a three- year savings worth $4.5 million in labor costs. The reduction in effort by the security analysts to handle incidents resulted in increased time for them to perform advanced analysis of threats and develop new countermeasures to further improve the organization’s security posture.
  • End users benefited from quicker incident response and improved uptime. While the Resilient platform did not offer direct improvement on the detection of incidents, it did allow incident responders to contain threats much more quickly after the initial detection. On a per incident basis, business users saved half an hour due to the reduction in time-to- contain as they no longer needed to wait as long for security analysts to investigate and perform remediation steps. Additionally, the quicker time- to-contain led to avoided image restores and wider scale remediation action on the endpoints. In all, the organization saved between 11,830 and 15,645 hours per year with the Resilient platform.
  • Resilient, as the incident response platform, brought visibility to the efficacy of existing security tools, enabling security professionals to realize the full potential of the organization’s library of tools. With Resilient acting as the central dashboard orchestrating the response to security incidents, security professionals were able to centrally collect data and determine points in the security architecture that were less responsive. With the insight, security professionals could identify the exact point of failure and choose to either reconfigure the tool or substitute the tool with a more effective replacement. Security tools are expensive investments, and Resilient helps professionals reaffirm that these investments are working as advertised.

Unquantified benefits. The interviewed organization experienced the following benefits, which are not quantified for this study:

  • Resilient provides instant dashboarding to help expedite the audit process and reduce scrutiny from regulatory bodies. Most enterprises are audited on the security front numerous times a year and provide management reporting on security incidents at an even higher frequency. By being able to centralize security response data in the Resilient platform, the interviewed organization can provide internal and external auditors with data that reduces security professional effort and auditor effort.
  • The organization saw continual security posture improvement from newly free time to security analysts. Whereas the interviewed organization was once constantly fighting fires, it is now doing deep analysis into threats to continually improve its processes and defenses. The value of this has not been calculated, but it certainly helps the organization’s security individuals sleep better at night knowing that they are in a better posture to prevent massive fallout from situations like recent, widely publicized security breaches.

Costs. The interviewed organization experienced the following risk- adjusted costs:

  • License and support costs amounted to $3,469,440 over three years. The license costs are both user licenses for the incident responders as well as the primary software licenses for production and development environments. Standard support and service has also been accounted for in this category.
  • Software integration and process build outs are a low but ongoing cost. This cost category is inclusive of deployment, orchestration buildouts, and integration build outs with existing security tools. Some APIs are included, but as the interviewed organization’s security architecture was complex and tools are numerous, the custom buildout of these integrations was necessary and cost $266,745 over three years.

Forrester’s interview with an existing customer and subsequent financial analysis found that the interviewed organization experienced PV benefits of $7,610,015 over three years versus PV costs of $3,736,185, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $3,873,830 and an ROI of 104%.

TEI Framework And Methodology

From the information provided in the interview, Forrester has constructed a Total Economic ImpactTM (TEI) framework for those organizations considering implementing IBM Resilient.

The objective of the framework is to identify the cost, benefit, flexibility, and risk factors that affect the investment decision. Forrester took a multistep approach to evaluate the impact that IBM Resilient can have on an organization:

  • DUE DILIGENCE: Interviewed IBM stakeholders and Forrester analysts to gather data relative to Resilient
  • .CUSTOMER INTERVIEW: Interviewed one organization using Resilient to obtain data with respect to costs, benefits, and risks.
  • FINANCIAL MODEL FRAMEWORK: Constructed a financial model representative of the interview using the TEI methodology and risk-adjusted the financial model based on issues and concerns of the interviewed organization.
  • CASE STUDY: Employed four fundamental elements of TEI in modeling IBM Resilient’s impact: benefits, costs, flexibility, and risks. Given the increasing sophistication that enterprises have regarding ROI analyses related to IT investments, Forrester’s TEI methodology serves to provide a complete picture of the total economic impact of purchase decisions. Please see Appendix A for additional information on the TEI methodology.


Readers should be aware of the following:

This study is commissioned by IBM and delivered by Forrester Consulting. It is not meant to be used as a competitive analysis.

Forrester makes no assumptions as to the potential ROI that other organizations will receive. Forrester strongly advises that readers use their own estimates within the framework provided in the report to determine the appropriateness of an investment in IBM Resilient.

IBM reviewed and provided feedback to Forrester, but Forrester maintains editorial control over the study and its findings and does not accept changes to the study that contradict Forrester’s findings or obscure the meaning of the study.

IBM provided the customer names for the interviews but did not participate in the interviews.

The Resilient Customer Journey


Interviewed Organization

For this study, Forrester interviewed an IBM Resilient customer with multiple years of experience using the platform:

  • This is a financial services organization with a worldwide footprint.
  • It employs more than 15,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) and has revenues in the tens of billions.
  • It has a cyber defense team of approximately 150 security professionals.
  • This is an organization that is held accountable to multiple regulatory bodies; effective security posture and processes are instrumental to meeting the standards.

Key Challenges

Coming from an existing state of using a homebrew incident response plan that incorporated the use of an IT ticketing system, the security team at the organization felt that its needs were largely unmet. There was a clear lack of visibility and integration into various security tools, providing for weak documentation and a complete absence of automation. “We had a clear desire for so much more to improve our efficiency, and when we realized that the existing solution failed at 99% of our wants, it was time to move on,” said the VP of cyber defense. Further, “The messaging from the top was that we had these solutions already — but our own analysis suggested it [the old solution] was clearly incapable of doing what we needed to be effective.”

  • There was a lack of integration with various security tools: Lacking integration with the security stack resulted in very little documentation and metrics for consumption. Further still, the effort required to triage and actually drive to the root cause of the incidents was largely manual and time-consuming. The old system served as a way to mark issues but aided very little in actually feeding information to security professionals so that they could take proper action on containment.
  • A lack of playbooks meant that every situation was assessed manually when it could have been automated: Incidents arose in a variety of forms and attack vectors. Incident responders would manually go through the analysis process, pulling information from various tools to determine the proper course of action. Said simply, the security analysts needed to enact different containment processes on every incident. The result was that different analysts performed containment and remediation in different ways, piling up on the inefficiencies.
  • There was a clear disconnect on automation and orchestration. Without integration, there was no automation. No single centralized point of control was dictating the hundreds of remedial actions that had previously been seen. Again, these actions took manual labor, and remediation was left to the wildly varying methods between the incident responders.
  • Security professionals were a scarce commodity: Being in a constant firefight mode required a large force of incident responders who were each versed in a wide variety of security elements. As the need for these professionals grew, it was more and more costly to add to this cyber defense group. Intelligent automation was a clear solution to reduce the laborious effort of analysis and containment.

Decision To Use Resilient

After an extensive request for proposal (RFP) and business case process evaluating multiple vendors, the interviewed organization chose Resilient and began deployment:

  • The organization chose Resilient because of its dynamic playbooks — the ability to follow the path of incidents and act dynamically through the stages of breach from initial identification to internal network proliferation and widespread data corruption.
  • By the end of the bake-off proof of concept (POC), the organization had built simple integration that translated into significant automation savings for all incident responders.
  • The Resilient solution was running and integrated with many of the organization’s mission-critical security tools within two weeks.

Key Results

The interview revealed that key results from the Resilient investment include:

  • Integration with existing security tool sets allowed for a dramatic automation improvement. By integrating with existing tools, Resilient took initiative to present the relevant data on issues to security analysts and then completed the required actions through the tools once approved by analysts. In short, orchestration and automation eliminated a large portion of investigative work from the detect, analyze, contain, and eradicate workflow.
  • Like security practitioners, business end users found greater productivity. As the time-to-contain shortened from automation, business users enjoyed higher levels of uptime at their workstations, directly feeding value back to the organization in productive output. Disruptions were reduced in scale; even IT help desk effort was reduced as reimage sessions or virtual machine (VM) recomposes were minimized by fast action to resolve incidents.
  • Having a capable incident response platform was the final piece of the security puzzle to tackle increasingly complex attacks. While detection and remediation were still largely left to the existing tools in the security group, the time to take action and contain threats had dramatically improved. Being without an IR platform capable of orchestration was like having the tools but having to wait to decide when and where to use which specific tool for the task.

Financial Analysis

Orchestration And Automation Savings For Incident Response

Following the deployment of IBM Resilient, the interviewed organization realized a significant gain in the automation and, in turn, a reduction of security analyst effort. Whereas the existing solution offered very limited or no data from the relevant security pieces, Resilient, once integrated with the security stack, was able to provide vivid detail on security incidents and enact on containment and remediation actions with minimal input from security personnel. From the interview, Forrester determined:

  • Security experts can see from a centralized command center the initial point of detection and any further exploitation caused by the incident. Using dynamic playbooks, the Resilient platform visibly displays the actions required and can execute with a single click from the incident responders.
  • In the previous state where incidents morphed and affected multiple points across the network, incident responders would rely on multiple analysts to determine and contain these threats. With Resilient, the organization can identify these threats and reduce the number of actual personnel necessary to mitigate the issues.
  • The interviewee stated that the longest part of the incident response workflow was the analysis and triage on the incidents. Resilient effectively reduced the effort involved by over 80%. Accounting for three analysts who may have been involved in these incidents, their individual effort was reduced by nearly 25 minutes for analysis, resulting in a total of 1.25 hours saved per incident.
  • At an average rate of 350 incidents occurring on a weekly basis, we estimate that 22,750 hours were saved in the initial year by the security responders and analysts.

Calculations have been adjusted for an increase in efficiency through optimization of orchestrations and an increase in incidents that will occur over the ensuing years. Forrester estimates security incidents to increase by nearly 15% at financial services organizations on a year- over-year basis.

  • Incidents will grow in frequency by 15% year over year.
  • Tuning and optimization of the orchestration through further integration with security tools will increase the time saved by security professionals by 10% year over year.
  • At a rate of $110,000 per year, accounting for benefits, security professionals earn the equivalent of $66/hour.

With the time saved, the security analysts were not necessarily relinquished — especially as they are highly sought after. Instead, the interviewed organization allocated these analysts to spend the newly found time saved from automation to perform deep level analysis — such as determining the advanced behavior of malware or optimizing rule sets and orchestration so that incidents are handled even faster in the future.

While Forrester believes the value of automation and orchestration to be undeniable, readers should be aware of the potential impact risk of exacting the benefits if an established IR plan is already in place. Consideration of this risk should be for organizations that may already be very mature in incident response and security posture — factors that may diminish the value cited in this category.

To account for this risk, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 5%, yielding a three-year risk-adjusted total PV of $4,502,964

End User Productivity Recapture From Improved IR Capabilities

IBM Resilient does not enable quicker detection of malicious activity — this is a function of the existing security infrastructure. Likewise, Resilient does not perform the remediation. Instead, the Resilient solution accelerates the incident response workflow once an incident has been detected, leading to a significantly reduced time to enact the remediation and containment procedures — otherwise explained as the period of time between mean-time-to-detect (MTTD) and mean-time-to-contain (MTTC).

Incident responders previously required between 20 and 30 minutes to analyze and determine a proper containment approach, which has largely been eliminated due to Resilient’s automation and orchestration to carry out containment measures. End users who operate on the enterprise network would often find that their machines were locked out upon detection, resulting in a period of downtime until the endpoint was contained and remediated. With the reduction in the period between MTTD and MTTC, the end users are able to recover this time to be spent productively.

Additionally, a number of incidents often cause deeper and collateral damage as time passes. A hastened action to respond to the incident often reduces the need for deeper-level remediation/recovery techniques, such as a complete reimage.

For the interviewed organization, Forrester found that:

  • For each of the incidents occurring across the enterprise, end users are saving a minimum of 30 minutes per incident. They are repurposing those 30 minutes into productive output.
  • The percentage of incidents that ultimate may have necessitated full restores or VM recompose without a hastened response is 10%.
  • The average time for reimage, recompose, or full remediation is estimated at 1.5 hours — time that would have been taken away from user productivity.

The reduction in productivity recaptured can vary depending on:

  • The number of applications installed on the endpoint stations.
  • The time needed to reimage/recompose.
  • The detection efficacy of security measures already in place.

To account for these risks, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 5%, yielding a three-year risk-adjusted total PV of $1,346,720.

Existing Security Asset Value Realization Improvement

Enterprises today are rightfully concerned about their security posture and allocate increasing amounts to security budgets — especially given the number of high-profile breaches that frequent the news. With an assortment of tools, how do organizations determine the efficacy of these individual tools following POC and deployment? Forrester’s interview with the customer organization revealed that while POCs and bake-offs can be useful for a first impression, sometimes the solutions are not quite as effective as originally expected. With Resilient as a central point of orchestration and data collection, the interviewed organization gained visibility into its collective security stack and was better able to evaluate its existing investments.

  • Upon integration with Resilient, the security team was able to collect information as to which defense mechanisms were more effective, if effective at all, on detection or containment of malicious activity.
  • The interviewed organization was able to clearly delineate whether its browser sandboxing and database access management were working, as results were all reported back to Resilient.
  • The organization estimated that over $1.5 million of its investments were not properly configured or working to the standard promised, resulting in either reconfiguration or removal of those services.
  • Detection was primarily noted in the first year of Resilient deployment with smaller incremental gains in the years after.
  • Recognition of the points of failure saved an additional amount of labor, when the security team would have passed false negatives or exerted additional effort on false positives.

Value recovered from the points of failure was estimated at a PV of $1,760,331 over the course of three years of usage.

Unquantified Benefits

Beyond the quantified benefits represented above, the customer organization identified the dramatically improved security posture now present. Time previously spent on remediating incidents is now spent to do advanced heuristics on malware and threats — understanding the underlying nature to prevent additional outbreaks in the present and future. What is the value in that? Forrester has determined the following on breaches:

  • No organization is immune to breaches. The size of an organization cannot determine the likelihood of attack or the accompanying potential damage, nor can any particular industry preclude an organization, as motivations behind breaches have evolved. While it is impossible to say what percentage of organizations are breached, we know that it is a matter of when, rather than if. Organizations that have a solid IR plan and perform deep-level analysis on different threat vectors stand a much-improved chance of minimizing damage.
  • Breaches that are not addressed with immediacy contain a number of financial ramifications in the short and long run. Lost revenues, legal settlements, regulatory fines from the likes of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI), and long-term brand erosion should all be considered.

While prevention and detection are always important, incident response formulas should be equally as critical in the overall security scheme of the organization.


The value of flexibility is clearly unique to each customer, and the measure of its value varies from organization to organization. There are multiple scenarios in which a customer might choose to implement Resilient and later realize additional uses and business opportunities, including:

  • Resilient incident response is agnostic with the tools that it integrates with and orchestrates. As newer and more capable prevention, detection, logging, and remediation tools are introduced to the security ecosystem, Resilient can continue to serve as the central orchestration mechanism with these tools and perpetually increase automation to security teams.

Flexibility would also be quantified when evaluated as part of a specific project (described in more detail in Appendix A).

License And Support Costs

From the interview, Forrester has determined that the majority of costs are borne from the following items:

  • The customer purchased a base software license, along with the user seat licenses for individual incident responders. The licensing purchased by the interviewed organization is of the perpetuity type.
  • Support and service were a continued cost assumed on a yearly basis following the initial year of usage.
  • Lastly, a development environment for the Resilient platform was necessary to develop integrations into the organization’s 50-plus existing security tools.

Costs in this study are represented at near list pricing, reflecting only slight discounting. Purchases of other IBM security solutions may drive the cost of the Resilient solution down beyond what is reflected here. We encourage readers to explore the options with IBM or partners.

Compiling the costs of the licenses and service and support, the interviewed organization likely assumed PV costs of $4,415,651 after three years of usage.

Initial And Ongoing Orchestration, Process, And Integration Build-Outs

The IBM Resilient platform can be deployed outright with minimal effort and comes with a number of standard dynamic playbooks. As no two organizations are the same, however, process remodeling and security tool integration need to be undertaken to fully realize the automation and orchestration capabilities of Resilient. The interviewed organization started integration and process augmentation for the mission-critical tools within its stack of more than 50 tools.

  • Initial planning and scripting of the various integrations required the efforts of five security FTEs over two weeks, committing a real total of 400 hours in this time. With this effort, the organization had integrated Resilient with its mission-critical and most commonly used tools. Automation savings almost immediately accrued, but the efforts for process engineering and tool integration didn’t stop there.
  • Over the next three years, the organization continued to integrate tools to continually improve the efficiency of incident response, cutting manual processes where it could. The effort spent by a Python developer equated to approximately half an FTE on an ongoing basis.
  • The result was a continued reduction and effectiveness in the organization’s ability to contain incidents in shorter periods of time.

Some organizations may lack the developer resources for advanced Python development in the security space; as such, there exists the risk that additional effort might need to be allocated to the tool integration process. Additionally, different organizations have varying complexities in their security architecture that may require additional effort. As such, Forrester has overlaid this cost category with what we identify as implementation risk.

To account for these risks, Forrester adjusted this cost upward by 10%, yielding a three-year risk-adjusted total PV of $266,745.

IBM Resilient: Overview

The following information is provided by IBM. Forrester has not validated any claims and does not endorse IBM or its offerings.

The Resilient Incident Response Platform (IRP) is the leading platform for orchestrating and automating incident response processes. With Resilient, security organizations can significantly drive down their mean time to find, respond to, and remediate using the platform. It quickly and easily integrates with organizations’ existing security and IT investments, creating a single hub to drive fast and intelligent action. The platform’s advanced orchestration capabilities enable adaptive response to complex cyber threats.

The latest orchestration innovations to the Resilient IRP include:

  • Dynamic Playbooks: Provides the agility, intelligence, and sophistication needed to contend with complex attacks. Dynamic Playbooks automatically adapts to real-time incident conditions and ensures repetitive, initial triage steps are complete before an analyst even opens the incident.
  • Visual Workflows: Enables analysts to orchestrate incident response with visually built, complex workflows based on tasks and technical integrations.
  • Incident Visualization: Graphically displays the relationships between incident artifacts or indicators of compromise (IOCs) and incidents in an organization’s environment.

Appendix A: Total Economic Impact

Total Economic Impact is a methodology developed by Forrester Research that enhances a company’s technology decision-making processes and assists vendors in communicating the value proposition of their products and services to clients. The TEI methodology helps companies demonstrate, justify, and realize the tangible value of IT initiatives to both senior management and other key business stakeholders.

Total Economic Impact Approach

  • Benefits represent the value delivered to the business by the product. The TEI methodology places equal weight on the measure of benefits and the measure of costs, allowing for a full examination of the effect of the technology on the entire organization.
  • Costs consider all expenses necessary to deliver the proposed value, or benefits, of the product. The cost category within TEI captures incremental costs over the existing environment for ongoing costs associated with the solution.
  • Flexibility represents the strategic value that can be obtained for some future additional investment building on top of the initial investment already made. Having the ability to capture that benefit has a PV that can be estimated.
  • Risks measure the uncertainty of benefit and cost estimates given: 1) the likelihood that estimates will meet original projections and 2) the likelihood that estimates will be tracked over time. TEI risk factors are based on “triangular distribution.”

The initial investment column contains costs incurred at “time 0” or at the beginning of Year 1 that are not discounted. All other cash flows are discounted using the discount rate at the end of the year. PV calculations are calculated for each total cost and benefit estimate. NPV calculations in the summary tables are the sum of the initial investment and the discounted cash flows in each year. Sums and present value calculations of the Total Benefits, Total Costs, and Cash Flow tables may not exactly add up, as some rounding may occur.

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