Symantec Still Mum on Vontu

CEO John Thompson is not confirming or denying rumors his company wanted to buy data leak prevention specialist Vontu.

For the moment, officials at Symantec are not commenting on their plans for any acquisitions in the data loss prevention market.

For almost two weeks, rumors have swirled publicly about the Cupertino, Calif., company moving to buy Vontu. However, Symantec CEO John Thompson on Oct. 24 neither confirmed nor denied whether Symantec had an interest in the San Francisco-based company.

"[Data loss prevention is] an important area for our customers … no single technology addresses all the requirements of a true DLP solution," Thompson said during a conference call with analysts and journalists after Symantec reported its quarterly earnings.

Thwarting data leaks requires a layered-, policy- and information-centric driven approach, he said, adding DLP must protect data when its in motion on the network as well as at rest in an endpoint. Such security tools are where Vontu has traditionally tried to make its mark, using technology at both the network and endpoint levels to detect and secure confidential data. The two companies already have an OEM agreement stretching back a few years, with Symantec including Vontu technology in its Symantec Mail Security 8300 appliance.


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Symantecs security and data management business represented 30 percent of its total revenue for the second quarter of fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 28, and grew 7 percent year over year, according to the company.

The data loss prevention space has gained quite a bit of traction this year. According to a Gartner report, the content management and filtering and data loss prevention market is estimated to reach between $120 million and $150 million this year, up from $50 million in 2006. The report also predicted mergers between vendors and acquisitions by larger firms.

Roughly two weeks ago, McAfee, of Santa Clara, Calif., made a move into data protection when it announced plans to acquire encryption vendor SafeBoot. Earlier this year, Websense, of San Diego, Calif., bought Port Authority for $90 million, and Cisco Systems, of San Jose, Calif., jumped into the space when it acquired e-mail filter and anti-spam provider IronPort.

In an August roundtable with members of the media, Thompson said that while Symantec has historically been an acquisitive company, there were no immediate plans for a multi-billion dollar Veritas-size acquisition, and that Symantec is more interested in smaller companies that can augment its existing portfolio.

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