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Symantec Acquires Vontu For $350 Million To Clamp Down On Data Leaks

Vontu's acquisition fits in with analysts' valuation of a data leak prevention market that is expected to jump to as much as $150 million this year.

Symantec on Monday said that it had signed an agreement to acquire data leak prevention company Vontu for $350 million in cash and assumed options.

Data leak prevention companies have been flying off the shelves lately: Trend Micro acquired Provilla, Cisco paid for IronPort, Google purchased Postini, Raytheon bought Oakley Networks, and Websense gobbled up both Port Authority and SurfControl.

Garter, which put the value of data leak prevention market in 2006 at $50 million, is predicting that the market will jump to $120 - $150 million this year.

It's a trend Ken Schneider, CTO of Symantec, said is driven largely by regulatory compliance.

To put it another way, there are still a lot of holes in corporate data stores. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which tracks data breaches, says that over 215 million records have been exposed as a result of hacking, accident or negligence since 2005.

Schneider said that Symantec and Vontu have worked together for several years now and the deal was a good fit. In contrast to "some of our competitors trying to cobble together solutions," he characterized Vontu as the only company at the moment able to secure corporate gateways, network endpoints, and the storage layer.

Vontu's technology not only helps companies reduce the risk of data loss, but helps them track their risk reduction over time, said Steve Roop, VP Marketing at Vontu, noting that such statistics appeal to auditors.

"The biggest risk to confidential data is the insider," said Roop.

While malicious hackers hiding inside the firewall may strike fear into corporate IT departments, they represent only 4% of the risk. "Ninety-six percent of the risk comes from good people doing dumb things or broken business processes," he said.

Those of you with an iPod or a USB Flash Drive on your desk beside your workplace PC, you're the people Roop is talking about.

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