7 recent acquisitions in the IT security space — and why they happened

Cybersecurity is more important today than it ever was. The reason for that is that we are more connected than ever. Digital transformation has brought new dawn upon us where everything is connected through the Internet. However, this makes our data more vulnerable than ever. Technology is evolving and so are the attackers. We live in the age of IoT where everything is connected and it is easy for hackers to break into a network and start causing damage. Recent security breaches, like the one that happened at Equifax, have left enterprises on edge. And these breaches are becoming more common every day. This is also because of the shift toward the cloud. Although cloud vendors make sure that everything on their platforms is secure, breaches can happen in a number of ways. The stakes for securing and protecting data and applications are really high, hence there is a growing demand for security tools that do more than just perimeter-based protection. These tools need to provide all-around protection using best-in-class technology so that they can be relied on. Due to a greater than ever need for cybersecurity, there has been a rise in acquisitions of IT security companies recently. Let’s look at some of these IT security acquisitions and the reasons behind the deals.

1. Blackberry’s acquisition of Cylance

Blackberry recently acquired Cylance for $1.4 billion. Cylance is an AI-powered security company that uses AI and machine learning to predict and prevent attacks on endpoint devices. It creates a lightweight agent that gets installed in all the devices and works online as well as offline in order to provide protection from any attacks. Cylance has a customer base of 3,500 that includes several Fortune 500 companies.

Blackberry wants to add Cylance’s capabilities to its own security portfolio for better protection. It also wants to integrate Cylance’s technology with its secure and embedded OS called QNX that is deployed in vehicles and medical equipment.

2. Symantec’s acquisition of Appthority

Leading security company Symantec has acquired Appthority, a San Francisco-based cybersecurity startup. Appthority specializes in mobile threat detection. It performs continuous and automated app-vetting and app threat evaluation and provides users with an insight into their applications and how vulnerable they are. Appthority was founded in 2011 and has raised a total of $25 million.

Symantec will integrate Appthority’s technology to its own endpoint Protection offering called SEP Mobile. With the help of Appthority’s capabilities, mobile apps can be checked regularly to ensure they comply with the security regulations. And now Symantec itself is reportedly a target to be acquired by Broadcom in what would be a blockbuster deal.

IT security

3. Arctic Wolf’s acquisition of RootSecure

Late last year, Arctic Wolf gobbled up RootSecure, which provides cybersecurity risk assessment solutions that help users scan their network regularly to discover all the connected devices and to check for an enterprise’s network resilience. With the acquisition, Arctic Wolf will be able to provide enterprises with the combined strength of both RootSecure and Arctic Wolf’s AWN CyberSOC to detect and eliminate threats. RootSecure provides live insights into the vulnerabilities of an enterprise’s network. Whereas, Arctic Wolf’s AWN CyberSOC helps provide companies of varying sizes with cost-effective protection from looming cyber threats.

4. Thoma Bravo acquires Veracode

Private-equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired Veracode for $950 million. Veracode is an IT security company that provides innovative application security testing (AST). Veracode’s SaaS platform and integrated solutions help security and development teams continuously find security defects in their applications throughout the application lifecycle. This helps teams steer clear of any vulnerabilities in application development without affecting the speed of delivery. Thoma Bravo has acquired over 30 security companies to date. With this acquisition, Veracode expects to grow and innovate while also extending its market reach. Veracode has over 2,000 customers. Its clientele includes one-third of the Fortune 100 companies.

5. Radware acquires ShieldSquare

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection provider Radware acquired cloud security provider ShieldSquare. ShieldSquare detects bots and fraudulent traffic and protects applications from it. ShieldSquare’s bot intelligence solutions are available for web, mobile, as well as APIs. Users can have the visibility into their traffic while it flags known bot signatures. ShieldSquare’s solutions help against various threats including API abuse, content scraping, and malicious traffic, among others.

Radware plans on offering ShieldSquare bot management solution as a part of its new Bot manager. It also plans on integrating ShieldSquare’s capabilities with Radware’s attack prevention portfolio.

IT security6. Symantec acquires Luminate security

In addition to acquiring Appthority, Symantec also snapped up Luminate, a leader in the software-defined perimeter technology space. Luminate’s Access Cloud is tailor-made for cloud security. Cloud doesn’t allow for defined parameters to protect. However, for enterprises relying on multiple cloud vendors or the hybrid model, the complexity increases exponentially. Access Cloud helps enterprises by helping them scale private, no-DNS access control thereby limiting users’ access to only specific applications they are authorized for.

Companies and users want seamless access to their applications no matter where they are hosted. So, there is a need to provide secure access that protects these applications from new security risks that are caused by having multiple vendors. Symantec plans on integrating Cloud Access with its own Integrated Cyber Defense Platform. This marks another step by Symantec toward building a best-in-class IT security portfolio.

7. Palo Alto Networks’ acquisition of Demisto

Palo Alto Networks acquired Demisto for $560 million. Demisto is a leader in IT security orchestration and automated solutions. Palo Alto wants to use Demisto’s solutions to accelerate innovation in its own AI and machine learning capabilities by inculcating intelligent automation. With the help of Demisto, Palo Alto will be able to deliver immediate threat prevention and response. Another big appeal in acquiring Demisto is the fact that it has an impressive customer base of 150 organizations, of which a considerable number are Fortune 500 companies.

IT security: Better technology to battle more sophisticated attacks

These are just a few of numerous IT security acquisitions that have taken place recently. Looking at the growing frequency of these acquisitions, it is easy to comprehend the growing need for security. In the age of cloud, all our data and applications are distributed making for a larger attack surface. There are tons of user data and confidential business-related data that hackers can attack. So, there is a need for innovation in terms of cybersecurity. It’s not just about using antivirus and running it on all the workstations. There’s a need to scan the entire network to look for any vulnerabilities. Cyberattacks incur a heavy cost both in terms of money and reputation. And, recent data leaks are making enterprises rethink their entire security strategy.

The technology is more sophisticated than ever and so are hackers. Hackers are highly motivated and can exploit any external endpoint to enter an organization’s network and wreak havoc on the system by straining it till it breaks or by leaking the data or by exploiting expensive resources. Enterprises should understand that they can’t just stop working on security. It needs to be a continuous and rigorous process of discovering new threats and finding ways to prevent them. And, this is why cybersecurity companies are being acquired. The IT security and cybersecurity business will only grow from here as every company wants to one-up its competition by investing in newer technologies that can make them stand out in this rapidly growing and evolving space.

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