Security Vendors Branch Out

Acquisitions and new applications are designed to provide more complete solutions
Businesses are looking for more complete security packages from vendors that are struggling to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Two IT security firms expanded their product portfolios through acquisitions last week, while a third entered a new market with a risk-management product.

Symantec Corp., best known for its antivirus software, plans to acquire PowerQuest Corp. for $150 million. That will let it expand into provisioning, storage-management, and disaster-recovery markets. Symantec plans to use technology from the PowerQuest acquisition to enhance its Ghost product, which backs up computer hard drives. The acquisition is expected to be completed by year's end.

Another antivirus software maker, Sophos plc, is spending $23 million cash to acquire anti-spam vendor ActiveState Corp. Sophos plans to integrate ActiveState's E-mail content-protection software, PureMessage, into the company's antivirus software. PureMessage supports AIX, HP-UX, FreeBSD, Linux, and Solaris. The products for open-source programmers will continue to be developed and sold under the ActiveState brand.

Also last week, security-services vendor TruSecure Corp. introduced Risk Commander, which creates a risk-management dashboard that collects and displays security-related events. The app is a result of TruSecure's July acquisition of Cogentric Inc., a startup that made security risk-analysis software. The product will collect information from a customer's firewalls, intrusion-detection system, and other security logs and compare that data with information from TruSecure's security-intelligence service, which collects information about threats from hackers, viruses, and software exploits. Together, the two will help a company determine how serious a risk it faces from certain threats. Risk Commander will be available in November; prices start around $150,000.

"Customers want a single vendor, a single solution," says Pete Lindstrom, research director for Spire Security. "Companies are simplifying their environment by limiting vendors and the number of software apps that they use. The security vendors are responding to that."

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer