A Link Between Messaging

By Matt Hines  |  Posted 2007-01-05 Print this article Print

and the Network"> "If you think about the applications that everyone uses the network for, such as e-mail and Web surfing, you cant get into the business of enabling these technologies, as Cisco certainly wants to, without securing them," Stamp said.

Stamp said that on one hand, this deal is reflects the trend of infrastructure companies integrating security, but on the other hand it shows how Cisco is making a calculated move to rise up into the applications stack.

The analyst believes that Ciscos ultimate goal with moving into applications security is to create end-to-end software and hardware platforms that allow companies to link messaging programs, including e-mail, instant messaging and VOIP (voice over IP) systems, with networking infrastructure itself.
While enterprises have long maintained layers of technologies to help tie their communications systems together, convergence of messaging platforms is driving demand for more integration between these types of technologies, the analyst said.

Another benefit of the merger for Cisco is gaining access to IronPorts SenderBase e-mail traffic monitoring service, which already collects data from more than 100,000 sources to detect suspicious behavior and virus outbreaks. The system could become far more powerful if it is linked to the millions of Cisco nodes around the world, creating a Web traffic reputation service that far surpasses the scale of any similar systems, said Peter Firstbrook, analyst with Gartner, in Stamford, Conn.

Cisco also takes over IronPorts Web gateway appliance business, selling the hardware meant to protect enterprises from malicious traffic, and enters a market that Firstbrook has tabbed for significant growth over the next several years. There are only a handful of relatively small vendors playing in this space today, and adding the scale of Cisco to IronPorts existing technologies could make it a leader in the segment, Firstbrook said.

"As enterprises get better at locking down e-mail, more of them will begin looking at these types of technologies to protect Web surfing," Firstbrook said.

Cisco executives said that they feel the IronPort deal will provide their firm with a multitude of opportunities throughout the applications security sector and that they expect the technologies acquired through the buyout to filter into a wide array of future products.

"The challenge will be prioritization," said Jeff Platon, vice president of marketing for Ciscos security solutions unit. "As we integrate these technologies into our existing framework, we know we can take this in a lot of different directions."

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Ryan Naraines eWEEK Security Watch blog.


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