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Cisco Picks Up Protego

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is ending 2004 in typical fashion -- by acquiring yet another security specialist. The company today announced a $65 million all-cash deal for Sunnyvale, Calif., startup Protego Networks.

Protego supplies security monitoring and threat management appliances to enterprises. The firms core offering is the PN-MARS family of appliances, which manage security across routers, switches, and firewalls as well as intrusion and detection devices.

With just 38 employees, the acquisition equals around $1.7 million per Protego staff member -- proof, if any were needed, that security is still big business.

Should we be surprised by the deal? Not really: Cisco has been flashing its cash throughout 2004, and it has been focusing particularly on security. Just last month, for example, the networking giant stumped up $16 million for another security management specialist, the Lilliputian Jahi Networks (see Cisco Jumps on Jahi).

The Jahi deal followed a spate of acquistions, including a $128.37 million deal for NetSolve Inc., $74 million for Perfigo Inc., $39 million for Riverhead Networks, and $5 million for Twingo Systems Inc.
(see Cisco Nabs NetSolve and Cisco to Buy Perfigo for $74M and Cisco: It Takes Two to Twingo).

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