By Ellen Messmer
Check Point Software Technologies on Tuesday announced an agreement to
acquire privately held NFR Security, a maker of intrusion-detection and
-prevention systems, for approximately $20 million.
Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Israel-based Check Point, indicated the
firm has plans to incorporate NFRs Sentivist IDS and IPS technologies
into the Check Point line of firewall, VPN and security management
products. Check Point also plans to continue to offer stand-alone IDS
and IPS products based on NFRs product line with the Check Point
InterSpect internal security gateway.
We will integrate NFRs technologies into our unified security
architecture to provide the industrys broadest and best-managed security
solutions, Shwed said, adding there is no timeline for doing so.
The acquisition of Rockville, Md.-based NFR Security, founded a decade
ago by IDS pioneer Marcus Ranum, follows Check Points failure earlier
this year to complete the acquisition of IDS and IPS vendor Sourcefire.
That deal ran into opposition from the multiagency federal Committee on
Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which objected to
Sourcefire, whose systems are used in the U.S. military, being acquired
by a non-U.S. firm.
Check Point said it already has obtained regulatory approvals related to
NFR Security and expects the deal to close by year-end.
We have passed through a similar process with CFIUS, said Shwed, who
added Check Point already has received CFIUS approval for buying NFR
Shwed said he didnt understand entirely why NFR Security received CFIUS
approval but Sourcefire did not, but he added it simply might have to do
with the political situation a year ago when Check Point applied to be
approved to buy Sourcefire. A year ago, they wanted more time to work
with the issues, he noted.
NFR Security, which has 22 employees, does not publish figures related
to its earnings. While not discussing NFR Securitys exact earnings,
Shwed acknowledged NFR isnt a big money-maker, but it isnt losing money.
Its at least breaking even. Shwed said the majority of the employees are
expected to join Check Point.
Check Point expects NFR Security products to be available on the Check
Point price list and via resellers early in the first quarter of 2007.
The Sentivist IPS works at speeds from 100Mbps to 4Gbps, with a 10Gbps
product expected to be available next year.
Gartner analyst John Pescatore said the NFR Security acquisition is
clearly a replacement for the failed merger with Sourcefire.
Check Point buying NFR Security makes sense, said Pescatore. Check Point
definitely needed the intrusion-prevention capabilities. They have what
they called InterSpect, but it wasnt working in the market. They werent
succeeding in IPS.
In contrast, Check Point competitors including Cisco and Juniper already
have been building IPS into their firewalls, said Pescatore.
NFR Security was one of the last of the traditional IDS vendors to get
into intrusion prevention, Pescatore pointed out. But NFR Securitys
products and technologies, while not widely deployed, are well
Pescatore said the merger between Check Point and NFR Security will
probably work out well because NFR Security has good technologies that
can be combined with Check Points strength in firewalls and management.
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