Imation Acquires IronKey's USB-Based Hardware Security Business

IronKey shed its USB-based security hardware business for portable devices in order to expand its cloud-based security platform and reach new customers.

IronKey has sold its USB-based security hardware business to Imation, freeing up resources for IronKey to focus on its cloud-based security services for enterprises.

Under the sales agreement, Imation will acquire the assets of IronKey's secure data storage hardware business for an undisclosed amount, the companies announced on Sept. 20. As part of the deal, expected to close within 30 days, IronKey will make its cloud-based security services available to Imation.

The two companies also signed a strategic multiyear partnership that will enable Imation to offer customers a steadily expanding toolset to manage mobile devices, encryption, security policies, fraud prevention and virtualized applications.

The acquisition also will allow Imation to offer cloud-based services while it continues to focus on hardware to secure mobile devices, portable storage and data removal media, Lawrence Reusing, general manager of Imation Mobile Security Group, told eWEEK.

The acquisition is a "real win-win" for IronKey and Imation, Dave Jevans, founder and chairman of IronKey and of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, told eWEEK. Imation's global reach means the company has the capability to scale the secure storage business much faster than what IronKey could accomplish, Jevans said.

Imation acquired secure storage products and technologies such as the multifunction portable computing devices that protect stored data with strong hardware encryption. IronKey combined the portable devices with the cloud-based IronKey Enterprise Management Service to provide comprehensive data security. IronKey's banking product is used by financial institutions to secure online banking and reduce online fraud.

Under the partnership, Imation will receive an exclusive license from IronKey for the secure storage management software and service along with a license to use the IronKey brand for its secure storage products.

IronKey will "accelerate" its focus to grow its cloud-based security portfolio, said IronKey CEO Arthur Wong. The Trusted Access security platform will be expanded to enable all enterprises-not just financial institutions-to protect assets, data and transactions, according to Wong. IronKey will support multiple form factors and applications, including portable USB devices, software and mobile applications for IronKey Trusted Access and other new IronKey security services, Wong said.

Approximately 40 employees at IronKey were associated with the hardware side of the business, and they are expected to move to Imation, while the remainder of the team will stay with IronKey, Jevans said. Current IronKey Trusted Access customers will continue to receive product support through IronKey, while the secure storage customers and partners will be transferred to Imation.

While the partnership agreement doesn't specify any technology sharing or collaboration, Reusing expects the companies to engage in "idea-sharing." The collaboration agreement will have the two companies working together to reach customers.

"IronKey is focused on enabling enterprises and government agencies to safely adopt the economic benefits of mobile and cloud computing amidst increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks," Jevans said.

Imation will help push IronKey's service to its customers. There was very little overlap between the customer bases, according to Scott Ashdown, director of products and solutions at Imation Mobile Security Group. Imation also has an OEM relationship where some of its devices are distributed by McAfee, which will remain unaffected by the IronKey deal, according to Ashdown.