Network Security, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Cisco picks up web security SaaS provider ScanSafe

Networking giant Cisco on Tuesday announced plans to acquire on-demand web protection provider ScanSafe to complement its existing IronPort line of security products.

The $183 million deal will enable Cisco to offer customers three distinct web security delivery models: either through its IronPort line of on-premise appliances, through San Francisco-based ScanSafe's hosted software as a service solutions or as a hybrid approach.

"With the acquisition of ScanSafe, Cisco is executing on our vision to build a borderless network security architecture that combines network and cloud-based services for advanced security enforcement," said Tom Gillis, vice president and general manager of Cisco's security technology business unit. "Cisco will provide customers the flexibility to choose the deployment model that best suits their organization."

ScanSafe's service also will become part of Cisco's virtual private network offering to provide a secure mobile solution. In addition, Cisco plans to leverage ScanSafe's data centers to further extend cloud offerings to customers.

John Kindervag, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, said the purchase will alleviate concerns by some of his clients that Cisco is moving away from an enterprise focus. Its biggest 2009 acquisition before this one was of Pure Digital Technologies, which makes digital camcorders.

"All of their investments seemed to be going in another direction," Kindervag told on Tuesday. "This is a good signal that they are still committed."

In addition, the deal makes sense because organizations are demanding the hybrid approach for web security, he said. Businesses may use a SaaS model for their mobile workers and branch office employees, while deploying on-premise appliances at their headquarters.

This is the second major recent acquisition inside the burgeoning web security market. Earlier this month, Cisco IronPort competitor Barracuda Networks picked up start-up Purewire. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.

The ScanSafe deal is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2010. Upon completion, ScanSafe employees are expected to join the security technology business unit.

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