Cisco Bolsters Security Portfolio With Lancope Acquisition

Cisco officials say the $452.5 million deal for the network security vendor will add to their larger Security Everywhere initiative.

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Cisco Systems is adding to its growing portfolio of security products with the acquisition of Lancope, whose technology will help businesses protect their assets in an increasingly connected and mobile world, according to officials with the giant networking vendor.

Cisco announced the $452.5 million deal Oct. 27, with executives saying the company's StealthWatch system will play an important role in Cisco's larger Security Everywhere initiative. It's an effort announced in June to bring security to all parts of the network, from the devices at the edge of the network through to the data center and the cloud, and to enable customers to better respond before, during and after attacks, company officials said.

The deal comes at a time when businesses are becoming increasingly mobile and when the number of connected devices worldwide could hit more than 50 billion by 2020, both of which raise new security challenges for companies.

"Cyber attackers are perpetually trying to stay one step ahead of these trends and becoming more adept at exploiting security weaknesses and avoiding detection," Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate development at Cisco, wrote in a post on the company blog.

The common thread in an increasingly digitized, mobile and connected world is that all of these devices link into the network, which can be constantly monitored, according to Cisco officials. Lancope's StealthWatch system is designed to offer customers analytics for network behavior as well as threat visibility and security intelligence, enabling businesses to detect anomalies in the network and identify suspicious traffic patterns to detect attacks.

By doing so, enterprises can more easily be proactive in responding to threats before and during an attack, rather than just being able to deal with them after the fact.

Cisco has been using Lancope's technology in its security offerings for several years, and now is bringing the company in-house, Salvagno wrote.

"Our combined solutions help secure customers' resources and critical assets by using their network as a sensor—extending protection further into their networks and allowing them to see more threats and to identify these threats faster," he wrote.

Lancope, which was founded in 2000, will become part of Cisco's Security Business Group organization, which is led by David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager.

In a post on his company's blog, Lancope President and CEO Mike Potts wrote that more than 800 enterprises, government agencies and universities are using the company's StealthWatch technology, and that becoming part of Cisco will help expand the reach of Lancope's products.

"Every year organizations are managing increasingly complex networks while responding to an evolving cyber threat landscape," Potts wrote. "Like our customers, Cisco clearly recognizes Lancope's ability to unlock security intelligence embedded in the network. Our two companies enjoy a shared ideology of the network as the source of truth, and the similarity in our cultures has made this union especially appealing."

Cisco over the past several years has aggressively built up its security capabilities as part of its larger push to become a top-tier enterprise IT solutions and services vendor, competing with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Cisco made a big move in 2013 when it spent $2.7 billion for cyber-security company Sourcefire. Other security-related acquisitions include OpenDNS, ThreatGrid, Cognitive Security and Neohapsis.

The Lancope acquisition comes a day after Cisco announced it is buying ParStream, whose analytics database technologies enable organizations to more easily store and parse large amounts of data at the edge of the network.