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Cisco Flirts with Data Security & Microsoft Embraces SSL VPNs

Two interesting developments on the security front last week: Cisco is flirting with the database security business while Microsoft declared its love for SSL-based remote access.
Cisco Systems invested an undisclosed sum in database security company Guardium. Guardium sells an appliance that sits in front of database servers to monitor for suspicious activity that might indicate theft or misuse of sensitive information. The company also offers agent software to monitor databases directly.

With this investment Cisco has staked out territory in an emerging market populated entirely by start-ups. (However, Symantec has a database security appliance in the works, and will likely be the first major vendor to enter this space with its own product).

Whether the investment becomes an acquisition is anybody???s guess, but it???s a clear sign that networking???s big dog smells a hot market as massive data losses continue to mount.

Also last week, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Whale Communications, an SSL VPN vendor, for an undisclosed sum. Whale was regarded as having a good product, but it lacked the success of solutions from Juniper, Aventail and Citrix.

At first glance the acquisition might seem like an odd choice for a software company whose other security purchases have focused on anti-malware protection and messaging security.

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