Cisco beefs up security with IronPort buy

Networking giant Cisco has nailed its first acquisition of 2007 with the purchase of IronPort for US$830million.

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By  Administrator Published  January 11, 2007

The deal is part of the firm’s attempt to move beyond its traditional router and switches business.

Analysts said the acquisition of the enterprise messaging security provider would allow Cisco to strengthen its position in the network security arena.

“The IronPort acquisition will allow Cisco to move into the fast-growing e-mail security market, which is currently valued at approximately US$850million and growing at a rate of approximately 40% annually,” analyst firm Gartner said in a research note.

“The key technology value that Cisco will receive is a strategic foundation on which to begin building a security infrastructure for unified communications, including e-mail, instant messaging (IM) and voice over IP (VoIP),” Gartner went on to say.

Following completion of the deal, which is slated for the third quarter of fiscal 2007, IronPort will operate as a separate business unit within Cisco’s security technology group. Cisco is expected to retain most of IronPort’s 408 employees and its headquarters in California, US.

“We feel there is enormous potential for enhanced mail and message protection solutions to be integrated into the existing Cisco self-defending network framework,” commented Richard Palmer, senior vice president of Cisco’s security technology group.

The acquisition is expected to increase Cisco’s competitive position against security software maker Symantec and make it harder for other vendors to compete against Cisco, Symantec and Microsoft in the enterprise market.

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