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Sophos picks up Endforce, adds NAC to endpoint products

Anti-virus vendor Sophos strengthened its hand in the endpoint-security market today through its acquisition of Endforce.

The purchase means Sophos will deploy Endforce network access control (NAC) technology in its enterprise security solutions.

Sophos is planning to maintain Endforce's offices in Columbus, Ohio, according to a news release distributed by Sophos.

Steve Munford, Sophos CEO, said in the release that his company is trying to get ahead of the curve on NAC deployment.

"This acquisition brings our customers the most proven mass-deployed enterprise NAC solution in the market," he said. "Administrators demand the option of choosing a NAC provider without the risk of disrupting installed systems, and Sophos is prepared to meet that demand ahead of our competitors."

Greg Moore, Endforce CEO, talked up the benefits of NAC in the same news release.

"Securing the endpoint is the most practical and effective method to implement access control over a heterogeneous network," he said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos, told today that his company has an advantage over competitors because Sophos's NAC solution can work alongside other anti-virus solutions.

"It gives (system administrators) a choice of what anti-virus vendor they want to use, and it gives us the opportunity to get into the get into the NAC space gradually," he said.

John Pescatore, a Gartner analyst, told today that the acquisition allows Sophos to better compete with anti-virus market leaders like McAfee and Symantec, which have already deployed NAC in enterprise solutions.

The acquisition is a good fit for Endforce because the market for NAC-only solutions is bound to remain small, according to Pescatore.

"No enterprise wants to touch every PC 10 times (for different security-related solutions), so the market for endpoint software that only does NAC is never going to get large," he said.

A recent report by Infonetics Research found that half of large organizations in North America have already deployed some sort of NAC solution, and the market could bring an additional 10 percent of large enterprises on board this year.

Small and medium organizations are also buying into NAC, according to Infonetics. Half of smaller businesses will deploy the technology by next year, according to Jeff Wilson, Infonetics principal analyst.

Click here to email Online Editor Frank Washkuch Jr.

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