McAfee Extends Cloud Security With Skyhigh Networks Acquisition

In its first acquisition since being spun-out from Intel, McAfee picks up Cloud Access Security Broker startup to help boost cloud security offerings.

McAfee Skyhigh

McAfee announced on Nov. 27 that it is acquiring privately-held security startup Skyhigh Networks. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

Skyhigh Networks was founded in 2011 as a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) technology vendor providing access control and visibility for cloud application usage. To date, Skyhigh has raised about $106 million in venture capital funding. Once the deal closes in early 2018, McAfee intends to use Skyhigh's technology as the foundation for a new cloud business unit.

"We looked at Skyhigh and their ability defend against a number of scenarios that are challenges for businesses today," Steve Grobman, CTO of McAfee told eWEEK.

The acquisition of Skyhigh is the first acquisition for McAfee since the company was spun out from Intel as a standalone company on April 4.

CASB technologies helps organizations manage cloud application usage across an enterprise. It's a hot area of technology that has resulted in multiple acquisitions in recent years. In June 2016, Cisco acquired CloudLock for $293 million and Oracle acquired Palerra in September 2016. In September 2015, Microsoft acquired Adallom for $320 million, while Blue Coat acquired Elastica in November 2015.

Though the CASB market has a been an active area of the cyber-security landscape, Grobman noted that CASB means different things to different organizations. Grobman said that what Skyhigh brings to the table is the ability to monitor and protect against shadow IT abuse and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application usage.

"Organizations need a security architecture that is able to support all elements of their business, including, traditional on-premises environments, cloud and also hybrid," Grobman said. 

It has been a busy year for Skyhigh, with the company updating its platform with new capabilities. Skyhigh debuted new Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) capabilities on Feb. 7, extending security protections to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms as well as custom application deployments in the cloud. On Oct. 24, the company announced its Cloud Native Data Security framework, providing autonomous remediation capabilities for cloud security.

There is minimal overlap between the capabilities that Skyhigh has and what McAfee was already offering in its product portfolio, according to Grobman. He noted that McAfee has strong Digital Loss Prevention (DLP) offerings focused on endpoints and networks. Skyhigh in contrast has DLP capabilities focused on cloud deployments. Grobman added that much of what Skyhigh provides are security controls that will complement and extend existing McAfee capabilities.

"McAfee has a lot of very strong security detection and defense technologies that can potentially be integrated with various parts of the Skyhigh cloud platform," Grobman said. "What we'll do over the next few months is look to see how we maximize the effectiveness of McAfee and Skyhigh technologies working together."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.