Cisco Shells Out for Intellishield

CyberTrust's security information service had a $14 million price tag

November 30, 2005

3 Min Read
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Cisco Systems Inc. made its latest foray into the security space Tuesday after the market closed, stumping up $14 million for CyberTrusts Intellishield network security service. (See Cisco to Buy Intellishield.)

The deal is the latest in a slew of security-related acquisitions by Cisco. In recent months, the networking giant has sunk its teeth into Fineground Networks, NetSift, and M.I. Secure Corp., underlining its commitment to locking down corporate networks. (See Cisco Chomps FineGround, Cisco Nets NetSift for $30M, and Cisco Buys Startup for $1.2M per Employee.)

For some time now, Cisco has been touting a strategy it describes as “self-defending networks.” Although this conjures up images of barbed wire and ninjas, the strategy is somewhat more prosaic. Instead of deploying a plethora of different security devices, Cisco is instead urging users to embed security into their networks and networking devices. (See Chambers Shouts About Security.)

The idea is that by focusing security resources on the network rather than in endpoint security devices, users are better equipped to cope with the rapidly changing demands of cyber security. (See Chambers Sells Self-Defending Networks.)

As part of this effort, Cisco is planning to roll CyberTrust’s Intellishield Alert Manager service into its MySDN security Website. Intellishield is a Web-based offering, which provides information to users on security threats and product vulnerabilities. The service is delivered via a Web portal, XML feeds, and email subscriptions.There is certainly a market for this type of service. Users are confronted with an ever growing list of security threats and vulnerabilities, and even Cisco itself hit the headlines in recent months thanks to flaws in its own product set. (See Cisco Admits IOS Vulnerability, Cisco Faces Security Flap, and Cisco Reveals 'Black Hat' Flaw.)

The deal made sense to enterprise customers. “Cisco is trying to expand and go up against companies like Mazu Networks, so it doesn’t surprise me,” says Mark Ramsey, data security and compliance manager at Pitney Bowes.

But would Ramsey use Cisco’s Intellishield service? “It’s a possibility,” he concedes. “It depends on how they bundle it.” Ramsey adds that all-in-one security and network management services are becoming increasingly popular with IT managers sick of handling products from various vendors.

Upon the close of the deal, which is expected to take place by late January 2006, the 26 employees in CyberTrust’s Alert Manager team will become part of Cisco's Customer Advocacy organization. The CyberTrust staff will remain at its current location in Dublin, Ohio.

Cisco is not the only company that opened its wallet today. Switch vendor Radware Ltd. stumped up $15 million for security specialist V-Secure Technologies, which develops network-based intrusion prevention products. Execs at Radware are now planning to integrate V-Secure’s technology into their APSolute product portfolio. (See Radware Unveils APSolute and Radware Intros SecureFlow.)— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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