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3Com buys into security

3Com looks to boost its security offering with the US$430million acquisition of intrusion prevention systems supplier TippingPoint Technologies.

3Com is to acquire TippingPoint Technologies, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and employs 125 people, for $430m cash. After the acquisition TippingPoint will be a division of 3Com.

The 3Com move follows similar steps by competitors Cisco and Juniper, which have acquired intrusion prevention suppliers in recent months.

Tipping Point has developed dedicated intrusion prevention systems (IPS) appliances to provide in-line protection against a range of internet attacks against IP-based voice and data networks.

TippingPoint's UnityOne Intrusion Prevention Systems offer automated protection against cyber attack, with technology that can scale to gigabit speeds. UnityOne protects routers, switches, DNS (Domain Name Servers) and other critical infrastructure from targeted attacks and traffic anomalies.

It enables users to throttle bandwidth-throttling applications, such as Kazaa, to free resources for more important applications.

The move is part of a trend from networking and security companies to build IPS elements in to their solutions.

According to a 2003 Yankee Group report, the intrusion prevention market is expanding fast. The research firm predicts that it will grow from being worth US$62 million in 2002 to US$520 million by 2007. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52.7% and much of this growth is taking place in the Middle East enterprise market.

IPS technology is also spreading from its inline network heartland to include technology that is being built into client-side solutions. Vendors such as Sygate and McAfee are building IPS tools into desktop security suites alongside more familiar fare such as antivirus, firewall and anti-spyware tools.

“IPS is extending into antivirus, with IPS targeting worms, and antivirus companies are building IPS functionality into antivirus products,” confirms Tobias Christen, chief technology officer (CTO), Stonesoft.

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