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More Security Consolidation

The push to consolidation in security continued today as 3Com purchased IPS vendor TippingPoint ** for somewhere in the neighborhood of 430 million dollars. According to the announcement, TippingPoint will continue to operate as a separate division of 3Com, with its headquarters remaining in Austin, Texas.

So what does this mean to the world of security? In one sense, it's just the latest step in the march of security to the network infrastructure. Cisco is the loudest voice talking about the virtues of tying security to the switches and routers at the core of the network, but it's far from the only voice. With this acquisition, 3Com has put some serious money behind this kind of talk, and it's reasonable to expect that they will ultimately tie the products together more closely. There's no surprise in this, but I do think there's good news for security-conscious folks in the small- to medium-business category.

While most of the companies talking about security and the infrastructure have been focusing on products in the enterprise space, 3Com has built a reputation in the SMB market over the last few years. 3Com has also been introducing more products aimed at security, so the company has obviously seen an opportunity to make a market within security-conscious SMB I.T. folks. This is great news for those who have significant concerns about security within smaller companies. TippingPoint is a very solid IPS product (as I found when performing tests for an IPS review that will appear in Network Computing in January), and linking the thinking with 3Com's presence in the SMB world should mean nothing but good things for migrating security capabilities down-market.

I'm looking forward to seeing how 3Com works with TippingPoint as part of the corporate fold. If today's purchase means that a 200-seat busines can get serious intrusion analysis, detection, and prevention, then this is good news for the networking community. I'm going to remain optimistic at this point, but I still have some phone calls to make--I'll let you know more after I have a chance to talk with the folks at 3Com and TippingPoint.

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