MCI has agreed to buy privately held managed security provider NetSec for approximately $105 million in cash.

The deal speeds MCI's ability to offer advanced security services by more than a year and helps it meet the security needs of its high-end customers, company officials said in a statement.

Herndon, Va.-based NetSec counts top U.S. government agencies among its customers, along with several large companies. Its security monitoring capabilities span 32 countries.

MCI plans to combine its network-based intelligence with NetSec's premise-based intelligence to provide customers with a broader view of their security environment, officials said.

Analysts at Forrester Research said the acquisition will allow MCI to expand its average government contract size. NetSec's customer based was about half federal, state and local government ones, they noted, while MCI already has substantial government clientele for its network services.

The takeover also shifts MCI's strategy from reselling others' security services to offering them in-house.

"With NetSec, MCI has the raw material to leapfrog competitor AT&T in managed security services capabilities," according to Forrester.

The deal is expected to close in 30 days.