Symantec to Acquire Sygate

Company's latest buy to bolster its network security wares in endpoint market.

Symantec Corp. continued its recent acquisition spree last week, buying Sygate Technologies Inc., one of a group of security vendors in the emerging endpoint security market.

Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., acquired Sygate for an undisclosed amount. The deal will combine Sygates software for enforcing network security policies and securing so-called endpoints, such as servers, laptops and mobile devices, with Symantecs stable of security wares.

Sygate makes NAC (network access control) technology for large enterprises. The company sells a wide range of products, from enterprise and desktop firewall software to security policy enforcement tools for wired and wireless networks and devices.

"Were excited. Its a great deal for our employees and investors. Everybodys going to walk away happy," said John DeSantis, Sygates CEO, in Fremont, Calif.

Symantec is not disclosing the amount of the purchase, but DeSantis said that it was a cash-only transaction that was immaterial to Symantecs earnings. The acquisition is the latest in a number of such deals engineered by Symantec CEO John Thompson, including the companys surprising purchase of storage player Veritas Software Corp. late last year.

Symantec will begin reselling Sygate technology immediately after the deal closes, DeSantis said.

Symantec plans to use Sygates Universal Network Access Control technology to enforce business policies and automate security practice within enterprises, which will help with network security and regulatory compliance, Symantec officials said.

Symantec Antivirus and Client Security customers will be able to license Sygates NAC agent. That agent will also be integrated with Symantecs LiveUpdate and LiveState Patch Manager services, Symantec officials said.

Over time, Symantec will integrate Sygates client software into its own desktop client and fold policy management functionality from Sygate into existing policy management products, DeSantis said.

The acquisition plugs a gaping hole in Symantecs product line, said John Pescatore, an analyst at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn.

The company lacked a NAC technology that could run security checks on machines running Symantec software and report their health to a policy server before allowing them to connect to corporate networks.

In addition to the Universal NAC system, Symantec will acquire the Sygate On-Demand Agent, a lightweight agent that can secure Web applications or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPNs for employees who connect to corporate networks from machines other than their corporate laptop or desktop.

DeSantis said that Sygates staff will stay in Fremont at least for the next 18 months and that he plans to stay at Symantec once the acquisition is complete and through the transition to a new company. But he couldnt say what his role in the merged company will be.