Symantec Gets @stake

Security vendor acquires consulting firm in an attempt to beef up its application security message

September 18, 2004

2 Min Read
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Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) is looking to boost its application security story with the acquisition of security consultancy @stake Inc. (see Symantec to Acquire @stake).

Precise details on the deal are yet to be released, although the acquisition is expected to be completed next month.

Symantec and its rival McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE) are keen to improve their consultancy and managed security portfolios at a time when businesses need increasingly complex IT security infrastructures. Last month McAfee acquired vulnerability management firm Foundstone Inc. for $86 million. Back in 2002, Symantec splashed out $145 million on Riptech and about $75 million on threat management specialist SecurityFocus.

By acquiring @stake, Symantec is also bolstering its application security strategy. The companys SmartRisk Analyzer product, in particular, is targeted at addressing security flaws in software applications. “Application security analysis and review is probably the hardest thing to do well in the security field,” according to Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security LLC.

As well as acquiring @stake’s products, Symantec can tap into the company’s knowledge base. Founded in 2000 by a group of former executives from Forrester Research Inc., Compaq, and Cambridge Technology Partners, the company also joined forces with hacker think-tank LOpht.The company now has 115 employees and offices in Chicago; London; New York; Raleigh, N.C.; San Francisco; and Seattle, in addition to @stake’s Bean-Town HQ. “What [Symantec] really wanted are the employees -- it’s a very smart team there,” says Lindstrom. “They are basically a stone’s throw from the MIT campus.”

Lindstrom adds that these consultants and developers can now be deployed to support Symantec’s transition from anti-virus vendor to enterprise security specialist.

The market for security products and services is becoming increasingly competitive. In addition to McAfee, Symantec faces competition from major hardware players like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) and, increasingly, such software firms as Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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