Continuing its push into the information security space, Microsoft today announced an agreement to acquire Whale Communications, a leading provider of Windows-based SSL VPN's and web application firewalls.
"Our customers are faced with balancing the need to protect their data and network infrastructure with the connectivity needs of an increasingly mobile workforce," said Ted Kummert, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Security, Access and Solutions Division. "We are committed to providing a comprehensive secure access platform that helps customers easily extend and manage the reach of their information systems."
Whale’s products are meant to complement existing secure access solutions built into Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server, according to a Microsoft statement issued today.
"Together, these technologies offer remote workers simplified access from more locations and a broader range of managed and unmanaged devices, including PCs, internet kiosks and mobile devices," the statement said.
Neither side disclosed terms of the deal, which is expected to close within two months, a Microsoft spokesperson said.
"We’re excited about what this acquisition will mean for our customers given Microsoft’s focus on providing policy-based secure access to information assets from beyond the corporate network," said Roger Pilc, CEO of Fort Lee, N.J.,-based Whale Communications.
The Whale purchase is another in a growing list of IT security acquisitions made by Microsoft in recent years.
In 2003, the Redmond, Wash. computing giant snatched up its first security company, Romanian-based anti-virus firm GeCAD Software. A year later, Microsoft purchased anti-spyware vendor GIANT Company Software, and it last year bought two messaging security providers, Sybari Software and FrontBridge.
Microsoft’s push into the security marketplace should generate more innovation among competitors, according to a recently published report by Forrester Research.
"For at least the first 18 months…Microsoft will not be able to offer solutions that are as functionally rich as its competitors," the report said. "Nevertheless, Microsoft’s immediate influence and growing market share will rapidly accelerate the maturation of these markets."