Cisco to Buy Sourcefire to Bulk Up Security Portfolio

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-07-23 Print this article Print

In a post on Sourcefire's blog, Roesch said merging with Cisco will enable company employees to accelerate what they want to do.

"The best news in all of this, especially for our partners, customers and open-source users, is that Cisco is committed to accelerate the realization of our vision into the market," he wrote. "We'll be able to more quickly innovate, develop, and provide products and technologies that continue to solve your biggest security challenges. And not just for commercial and government solutions—[Cisco officials] are committed to continued innovation and support of our open-source projects, too."

Young noted that cloud computing and greater mobility are giving hackers new avenues for attacking networks and creating an increasingly dynamic security environment where vendors like Cisco have to give IT professionals the tools they need while also trying to keep ahead of the bad guys.

At the same time, the move toward software-defined networks (SDNs) will put more pressure on network security professionals. SDN and efforts like Cisco's Open Network Environment (ONE) are designed to move network intelligence and services from physical switches and routers and into software. The goal is to make networks more automated, scalable, flexible and programmable.

It can be a double-edged sword for network administrators. By decoupling network security services from the underlying hardware infrastructure, IT professionals can bring security capabilities throughout the network. However, it also can make networks vulnerable to intruders who are able to gain access to the networks, increasing even more the need for extensive network security solutions, Young said.

That said, any technology transition brings with it a level of risk, he said. In the end, "the benefits [of SDNs] greatly outweigh the risks," Young said.

Analysts said Cisco's Sourcefire acquisition could kick off a consolidation in the cyber-security market, with top-tier vendors like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks and EMC looking to buy smaller companies to bulk up their security capabilities and meet a growing demand from organizations for more security solutions. In a research note, Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, called the deal "game-changing," and said he expects "a surge of consolidation to take place over the next 12 to 18 months."



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