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Sophos To Buy Unified Threat Management Vendor Astaro

With its entry into the UTM space, endpoint antivirus firm Sophos is looking to position itself as a comprehensive, one-stop enterprise security vendor.

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Security software vendor Sophos announced Friday that it will acquire unified threat management vendor Astaro. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sophos, which is primarily an endpoint antivirus security company that competes with larger vendors like McAfee (Intel), Symantec, and Trend Micro, as well as numerous smaller vendors like Kaspersky Labs and AVG, is looking to position itself as a comprehensive, one-stop security vendor for enterprises.

Astaro, a provider of network security solutions with $56 million in billings and 30% growth last year, is the fourth-largest dedicated UTM provider. The Astaro Security Gateway includes a network security platform of firewall, intrusion prevention system (IPS), virtual private network (VPN), and wireless, email, and Web security. Astaro also provides branch office security, log management, and email archiving cloud services.

"We have a great combination of threat management and data protection capabilities and when we looked at network security companies, we found a really perfect marriage with Astaro," said Arabella Hallawell, VP of corporate strategy for Sophos, in an interview.

Hallawell said Sophos has been eyeing the UTM market for some time, after seeing other security vendors "cobble together" security protection packages from multiple sources. Sophos believes it can better position itself in the enterprise security market by providing wide-ranging security services that include endpoint antivirus protection, firewall, VPN, IPS security protection, and Web, email, and application control, in a single platform.

Because of this, Sophos has been on a spending spree over the past few years, acquiring vendors to enhance its security offerings and ultimately provide a one-stop model for multiple security channels. In 2007, Sophos acquired Endforce, which provides endpoint security policy compliance and network access control for environments of more than 10,000 users. Then, in 2008 Sophos acquired Utimaco, a provider of endpoint security and control solutions.

Sophos plans to deliver a coordinated endpoint and network security offering that applies security, Web, and application policy controls inside and outside the corporate network. It will integrate Astaro's network security technologies in its UTM devices with Sophos offerings' of endpoint, mobile, email, and data protection capabilities.

In February, Sophos launched mobile device management software Sophos Mobile Control, which helps manage the security of Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile devices in the enterprise. The product will be released in July 2011.

Hallawell says the definition of the endpoint is changing with the introduction of these new mobile devices into the enterprise and because of it, security solutions need to adapt.

"From a customer perspective, there have been transformative IT trends in organizations," Hallawell said. "Some of the big points from our customers we have seen are not just to manage the endpoints in the network, but how to manage iPads, Androids, and all employees in the network ... We definitely see our customers dealing with these trends."

Sophos' headquarters are in Oxford, United Kingdom and Burlington, Mass. The company has more than 100 million users in 150 countries.

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