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App Security Could Help Firewalls

Database encryption specialist Protegrity Corp.s acquisition of Kavado Inc. for an undisclosed sum last week has placed the application security space in the spotlight once again (see Protegrity Acquires Kavado and Security Approaches Day Zero). The upshot could be a fresh round of consolidation in the segment.

Kavado is one of a number of startups, including NetContinuum Inc., Teros Inc., and Imperva Inc., that specialize in protecting applications by checking TCP sessions before they reach the application.

This technique is important because many applications were written before current security threats emerged, making them particularly vulnerable to attack from hackers. In a worst-case scenario, weak spots could open firms up to identity theft or the loss of complete datasets. “The hackers’ skills have improved,” admits Peter Abrams, vice president of marketing at NetContinuum. “It’s like warfare.”

Firms differ in how they check TCP. Whereas NetContinuum, Teros, and Imperva offer specialist security hardware, Kavado takes a software-based approach. Additionally, Imperva focuses heavily on database security (see Imperva Validated ).

The specialty all these vendors share, though, could draw interest from potential acquirers. Andrew Jacquith, senior analyst at The Yankee Group feels that these startups could make prime fodder for some of the industry's big-name firewall vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP), and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

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