Verizon has acquired Cybertrust, creating what Verizon claims is the world's largest government and big business managed security operation. The move will see the telecoms giant subsume Cybertrust's slew of products and services, including identity management, managed security services, vulnerability and threat management, as well as security certification programs. The firm will also get its hands on ICSA Labs, which claims to certify 95 per cent of deployed security software.

Verizon's announcement is the latest in a series of telecom companies buying security services providers to boost their offerings. MCI (now Verizon-owned) bought Netsec in 2005 and BT Group bought Counterpane in August 2006.

Industry analysts were cautious about the deal, pointing to potential integration issues between the two businesses - Verizon already has several managed security services businesses through the MCI acquisition.

"To realize the security-related and economic benefits of the combined MSS operations, Verizon Business will need to move to a unified service delivery platform," a Gartner analysis said. "Buyers of security services look for security expertise, and senior management looks for business issue acumen. Telcos are usually not the first option for either of these buyer segments, nor are telcos typically the first choice of employer for experienced security consultants. Verizon is likely to suffer significant brain drain."