Check Point, nine months after Sourcefire deal failed, scoops up Protect Data

Check Point Software Technologies has acquired Protect Data, parent company of Pointsec Mobile Technologies, for $585 million.

The deal comes just nine months after a plan for Israel-based Check Point to purchase open-source intrusion prevention provider Sourcefire fizzled out amid a U.S. government investigation.

Gil Shwed, Check Point CEO, told today that the acquisition of Pointsec, which offers encryption software for mobile devices such as laptops, PDAs and smart phones, comes at an opportune time.

"Protecting mobile data on their laptops is something everybody needs," he said. "There's so much information on there that someone can extract without much effort. We found that data security is an area that a customer wants and needs, but they can't get in a simple way."

He said Pointsec, based in Stockholm, Sweden and Redwood City, Calif., offers software that can be "deployed in a large-scale enterprise way."

Peter Christy, principal analyst with the Los Altos, Calif.-based Internet Research Group, told today that the acquisition signifies a strong rebound for Check Point after the failed Sourcefire deal.

"I think it's a fair statement that Check Point needs to do things to broaden its franchise," Christy said. "If Check Point stayed focused on firewalls, over time, they would discover stronger and stronger competition."

He said companies such as Microsoft, with its internet security appliance offerings, present a significant challenge to Check Point.

The plan to scoop up Sourcefire for $225 million failed in March after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, made up of 12 government agencies, voiced objections over a foreign company owning Sourcefire, whose technology secures some U.S. government networks.

Sourcefire announced plans to go public last month.

Shwed said the company still plans to offer a signature-based intrusion prevention solution, either through development, partnership or acquisition.

This is the first acquisition made by Check Point, which has more than 100,000 customers, since it acquired endpoint security firm Zone Labs three years ago for $205 million.

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