IT Security's 2008 Acquisition Spree

Security vendors Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Secure Computing and Sophos have acquired many companies in 2008, consolidating the security market amid an economic downturn. Symantec acquired MessageLabs, SwapDrive, AppStream and Vontu; McAfee acquired Reconnex and Secure Computing; Secure Computing acquired Securify; Sophos acquired Utimaco; CA acquired IDFocus; and Trend Micro acquired Identum and Provilla. Here's a rundown of these significant security acquisitions.

The downturn in the financial markets, a pending recession and tight credit have done little to impede the appetite of security vendors to acquire companies and consolidate the market.

Security vendors Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Secure Computing, CA and Sophos made no fewer than 11 significant acquisitions in 2008, consolidating the security market amid a tight credit market.


$695 million

October 2008

Symantec Oct. 8 acquired MessageLabs, which uses an SAAS (software as a service) model to deliver security for online chat, e-mail and Web applications. MessageLabs allows users to block malware, prevent access to Web sites and prevent unauthorized data leaks. It's another step for Symantec into SAAS and the cloud and matches McAfee's acquisition of Secure Computing.

Click here to read more about Symantec's move to build out its SAAS business with the acquisition of MessageLabs.


$123 million

June 2008

Symantec in June acquired SwapDrive, an online file backup and recovery vendor. SwapDrive put Symantec's Norton backup and recovery line in a better position to compete with EMC, following that company's acquisition of online backup provider Mozy in September 2007. Symantec also gained SwapDrive companies, a data protection service, and WhaleMail, which lets users send files of any size over the Web.

Symantec AppStream

$ - Undisclosed

April 2008

Symantec in April acquired AppStream, an SAAS delivery provider, adding a streaming capability to its SVS (Software Virtualization Solution) product. AppStream's software manages desktop applications from a central server, delivering only the components the user needs. Symantec had partnered with AppStream since 2006 to deliver its SVS Pro product. Acquiring AppStream put Symantec in a better position to compete with Microsoft's SoftGrid and the Thinstall (recently acquired by VMware) Virtualization Suite.

The economic downturn is unlikely to slow acquisitions among security companies. Click here to read more.


$350 million

November 2007

Symantec announced in November 2007 it would acquire Vontu, one of the largest independent DLP providers. The acquisition added some content flow capabilities to Symantec's DLP offerings and beefed up its eDiscovery functionality.


$46 million

August 2008

McAfee in August acquired Reconnex, a DLP (data loss prevention) provider, to add discovery and "content awareness capabilities" to its DLP portfolio.

McAfee-Secure Computing

$465 million

September 2008

McAfee announced plans in September to acquire Secure Computing, which provides intrusion prevention, firewall, Web security, and e-mail and data protection, as well as a level of NAC (network access control) technology. Secure Computing was also the owner of the Gauntlet firewall McAfee sold in 2002. McAfee said the acquisition allows it to offer a complete, single-source network security portfolio to a wide range of businesses, from small to global.