Cisco enhances security range with Psionic deal

Cisco Systems has purchased Psionic Software in a bid to give its intrusion detection systems [IDS] portfolio a boost.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  December 29, 2002

|~||~||~|Another month, another acquisition seems to have been Cisco System’s recent mantra, and so it is that they have purchased Psionic Software in a bid to give their intrusion detection systems [IDS] portfolio a boost. Psionic specialises in network security software and the networking giant believes that integrating the vendor’s ClearResponse software will enable it to enhance the efficiency of its IDS offerings.

“Psionic develops security software that increases the efficiency of IDS and reduces false alarms by up to 95%,” Richard Palmer, vice president & general manager of Cisco’s VPN & security services business unit, told its web site.

“Psionic’s software will provide Cisco security customers with increased productivity and a lower total cost of ownership associated with network based IDS by enabling customers to focus manpower and attention on validated attacks against their networks,” claims Palmer.

Psionic’s software adopts a reactive approach to IDS alerts, which is designed to cut down on the number of false alerts and the amount of time and resources spent assessing such threats.

The vendor’s ClearResponse program monitors attacks to see if they have been successful or not. If it ascertains that a system has been compromised it sends a prioritised alert and trap to the system’s console.

“Psionic’s intrusion response technology goes beyond [other] alarm consolidation and correlation products… by using patented adaptive scanning techniques to rapidly validate IDS events, escalate legitimate attacks and remediate costly attacks,” says Palmer.

“Only those qualified attacks that have the highest damage potential against vulnerable systems will be terminated, thus ensuring maximum network protection,” he adds.

Gartner Group also believes Cisco’s acquisition of Psionic will add valuable weight to its existing security family and provide users with a more efficient IDS solution.

“The acquisition of Psionic and its ClearResponse technology will likely strengthen Cisco’s IDS offering and complement its virtual private network and security management suite,” says the analyst house.

“The deal should also improve Cisco’s ability to help users of Cisco IDS to reduce the time security personnel take to react to compromised systems,” it adds.

Gartner Group, however, advises enterprises with existing Cisco IDS solutions to assess the benefits of the ClearResponse solution once integration has been completed. “Gartner believes this integration should be stable by 2Q03,” says a report by the analyst house.

Under the terms of the deal Cisco will issue up to US$12 million in stock in exchange for all shares and options in Psionic, and integration of both technology and resources should be complete by the second quarter of this year.

The acquisition of Psionic is part of Cisco’s plans to strengthen its product portfolio and expand into other markets. As such, the vendor believes that the security segment offers significant growth opportunities.

“The security networking market represents an emerging growth market opportunity for Cisco. IDC estimates that the security market will be over US$13 billion in 2003 with US$2.4 billion attributable to IDS as well as vulnerability assessment and management security services — all markets that are directly or indirectly addressed by Psionic’s software technology,” says Cisco’s Dan Scheinman, senior vice president, corporate development.||**||

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