Check Point Snaps Up Sourcefire

Sourcefire is the maker of Snort, an open-source intrusion detection and prevention technology that underpins its real-time network security software; no layoffs are expected.

Check Point Software Technologies Inc. is snapping up intrusion prevention and real-time network awareness software maker Sourcefire for a $225 million mix of cash and stocks, the security company announced Thursday.

Sourcefire is the maker of Snort, an open-source intrusion detection and prevention technology that underpins its real-time network security software.

Check Point Software founder and CEO Gil Shwed told eWEEK.com that the deal is the next logical step in a 2-year-old strategy aimed at providing full-metric security architecture for customers.

In other words, whatever laptop or other gizmos wander into the insides of a network, theyll be buttonholed before they can gum up the network.

"Inside the network, a lot can go in without passing through the traditional perimeter security," he said. "Our goal is either theyre completely blocked or, if somebody is doing something outside the company policy and they get into the network, damages are reduced or eliminated completely."

Sourcefire products will help Check Point to extend its unified security architecture with attack definitions and intelligent threat detection technologies, Shwed said.

Sourcefires 3D approach—"Discover, Determine, Defend"—features a network defense system that unifies intrusion and vulnerability management technologies and is a natural fit to Check Points solutions, specifically in the areas of Internal Security and Security Event Management, he said.

The deal, which has been signed off on by boards of directors of both companies as well as Sourcefire shareholders, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.

Check Point will be adding Sourcefires 140 employees to its own staff of 1,400 and expects no layoffs, Shwed said.

Analysts said its no coincidence that the move comes mere days after rival Symantec Corp. gobbled up its third acquisition in two months, announcing Monday that it was buying policy-compliance and vulnerability management software maker BindView Development for $209 million in cash.

The Symantec-BindView deal marked the third acquisition for Symantec Corp. in the last two months and is interpreted as an aggressive move by the Internet security vendor to expand its security offerings following its merger with Veritas Software Corp.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about the Symantec-Veritas deal.

Check Point, not an aggressive company when it comes to acquisitions, is smart to make a move now, analysts say.

As it is, the company has seen its share in hybrid security offerings slip.

Synergy Research has reported that the vendor dropped to 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2005 versus 8.5 percent in the second quarter of 2002.

Meanwhile, its share of the overall security market slid to 11.1 percent from 15.5 percent during the same period, according to Synergy.

Add to that the fact that Symantec is gobbling up companies like it has a tape worm, and Check Point certainly has motivation to move.

"Im sure the Symantec acquisition has really shaken up the big boys," said Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security LLC.

"Check Point, I assume, has got to get more aggressive in its ability to add security products to its portfolio."

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