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McAfee picks up DLP maker Reconnex for $46 million

McAfee on Thursday purchased Mountain View, Calif.-based data-loss prevention (DLP) provider Reconnex for $46 million.

Paul Proctor, research vice president at Gartner, told on Friday that the acquisition beefs up McAfee's data security portfolio by adding content awareness.

“This is a big win for customers,” he said. “The impact is that McAfee needed to shore up their network functions and they needed to improve the detection functions of their endpoint capability and they had no discovery to speak of. They get all of those things with the Reconnex buy.”

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee made a prior DLP purchase in 2006, when it picked up Onigma. That firm enabled users to write policies that would, for example, prohibit users from saving data to a flash drive, Proctor said. What Onigma couldn't do – and what Reconnex can – is recognize sensitive data that might be leaving an organization.

Dave DeWalt, McAfee's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that protecting data is the No.1 priority of security professionals.

“We expect that this will enable us to leapfrog other data protection vendors and to reinforce our position as the largest dedicated security company,” he said.

The purchase reflects the continuing consolidation of the DLP sector, where bellwethers such as Symantec and Websense have already scooped up their own pure-plays, Proctor said.

"The market is now settling out," he said. "The big players now have the right capabilities. They just have to integrate them."

The company that stands to lose the most from Thursday's news appears to be Trend Micro, who had been partnering with Reconnex through an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement, Proctor said.

“[Trend's] Provilla [line] provided endpoint functions for enforcing stuff and Reconnex supplied the intelligence for making decisions on sensitive data,” he said.

He added that losing Reconnex is going to force Trend to act, either by developing similar technology in house or possibly making an acquisition.

“They're going to have to do something to remain competitive in this space,” Proctor said.

Trend suffered another setback earlier in the week, when competitor Sophos announced it was bidding $340 million to purchase endpoint encryption firm Utimaco. Utimaco is one of Trend's largest resellers, Proctor said.

A Trend spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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