Cisco plans to acquire IronPort Systems, a provider of e-mail and Web security and security management appliances, for about $830 million in cash and stock. It would be Cisco's fifth-largest acquisition overall.
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IronPort's subscription-based pricing model for the filters and other software on its appliances appeals to Cisco, though it hasn't decided which products fit the model. "Many areas would lend themselves to be delivered in a software-as-a-service or software subscription model," says Jeff Platon, VP of Cisco Security Solutions marketing.
Cisco's backing also gives IronPort deep pockets to support its messaging security technology--a factor not to be underestimated given how difficult it is for vendors to keep up with the pace of emerging security threats.