3Com to Acquire IPS Vendor TippingPoint

Continuing the consolidation trend in the intrusion prevention market, 3Com agrees to buy TippingPoint Technologies for $430 million in cash.

The consolidation continues in the intrusion prevention system market, as 3Com Corp. announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire IPS vendor TippingPoint Technologies Inc. for $430 million in cash.

The purchase positions 3Com to remain competitive with rivals such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc., both of which have made IPS acquisitions and are working to integrate those products into their respective portfolios. And the big security vendors, most notably McAfee Inc., have moved quickly to secure their places in the IPS market, as well.

TippingPoints UnityOne in-line IPS is regarded within the security community as one of the more accurate and perhaps the fastest intrusion prevention appliance on the market. The company, based in Austin, Texas, was a part of a small group of startups that helped define the IPS market during the last three years. The success that companies such as TippingPoint, Entercept Security Technologies, IntruVert Networks Inc. and Lancope Inc. had in attracting large enterprise and government customers got the attention of the larger vendors, and the feeding frenzy began in earnest in 2003.

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Cisco got things started in January 2003 by purchasing Okena Inc. McAfee quickly followed suit by acquiring both IntruVert and Entercept, and Juniper then bought NetScreen Inc. earlier this year. Lancope is one of the few independent IPS vendors left on the board.

After the closing of the acquisition, TippingPoint will function as a division of 3Com, based in Marlboro, Mass., and Kip McClanahan, TippingPoints CEO, will stay on as head of the unit.

By acquiring TippingPoint, 3Com gets a strong foothold in the quickly merging market for securing voice-over-IP systems. VOIP is becoming a key piece in many enterprises technology strategies because of its relatively low price point and rich feature set. While the security issues around VOIP deployments still are not well understood, many security experts say that the phones are ripe for exploitation by crackers.

UnityOne includes anomaly and application protection for VOIP networks and is one of only a handful of products to have such capabilities.

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