The past 24 hours has seen three major announcements in the security acquisition space.
Possibly the biggest in terms of value was Gemalto’s acquisition of SafetNet for around $890 million. The definitive agreement was signed on Friday and will see the smart chip manufacturer acquire the firewall, encryption and authentication giant from private equity firm Vector Capital.
Elsewhere, IBM has acquired the business operations of cloud security services provider Lighthouse Security Group. Lighthouse Security Group’s Gateway platform protects identity and data in an increasingly complex IT environment, where more company information is being stored in the cloud and accessed from mobile devices.
IBM said that the Lighthouse Gateway provides customers with a strategic cloud-based platform, which includes a full suite of functionality that is based on IBM’s Security Identity and Access Management capabilities – including user provisioning, identity lifecycle governance, single sign-on, enterprise user registry services, federation, and user self service.
Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM Security Services, said: “With this acquisition, IBM provides a unique identity and access management offering that combines proven software and analytics technology with expert managed services that make it easy for businesses to tackle the complexities of security in this new digital world.”
Finally, social network Facebook announced its acquisition of PrivateCore, a start-up who specialises in server security technology. That company offers a technology called vCage that protects servers from malicious hardware devices, persistent malware and insider threats and Facebook said that it plans to leverage PrivateCore’s technology by deploying it directly into its own server stack.
According to Tech Times, the vCage software tests the integrity of servers and uses encryption to protect data-in-use. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, said in a blog that after implementing HTTPS encryption by default over a year ago, it has been working to secure all data centre traffic with additional protections.
“I believe that PrivateCore’s technology and expertise will help support Facebook’s mission to help make the world more open and connected, in a secure and trusted way,” he said. “Over time, we plan to deploy PrivateCore’s technology directly into the Facebook server stack. I can’t wait to have them join Facebook.”
The deal will also see PrivateCore Co-Founder and CEO Oded Horovitz and Chief Technology Officer Steve Weis join Facebook’s security team.
The security space has been an attractive proposition for years – the billions spent by Cisco on Sourcefire, by Intel on McAfee and by HP on the likes of ArcSight and Fortify demonstrate that perfectly.
Data from 451 Group showed that Q1 of 2014 had 26 information security acquisitions, the most active quarter it had seen since it began tracking, and this was followed by 14 acquisitions in Q2. Javvad Malik, senior analyst in the 451 Enterprise Security Practice, said that this year is “currently on pace to beat the high-water mark of 82 acquisitions set in 2005.”
Security is an attractive
proposition for big IT players like Facebook and IBM, while I am surprised by the acquisition of SafeNet as it has proved to be a renowned name in the vendor space. Perhaps headlines created by breaches at Target, eBay and the NSA whistle-blowing is causing ripples of interest in business, either that or they see that the recession-proof nature of security, coming off the back of three major conferences in Las Vegas, is a worthwhile investment.