CipherTrust and Secure Computing – A Marriage made in Heaven?

Written By:
Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

At the end of August the pending acquisition of CipherTrust by Secure Computing finally happened.

What does this mean for the user?

CipherTrust have been big players in the messaging security market for a number of years and are pretty well regarded by users, winning a clutch of awards for their various products. In particular CipherTrust products that manage outbound email messaging have been gaining a lot of interest as they address a lot of compliance related issues.

Secure Computing have been on the acquisition trail for a while. Last year they purchased CyberGuard which gave them a leg up in the UTM and firewall market place. The purchase of CipherTrust enables Secure Computing to sell a range of products covering intrusion prevention, secure content management, identity management and message management.

Following the CipherTrust acquisition, Secure Computing will have a customer base of 18,000 and a combined sales force of 300. This is quite a formidable army of salespeople now able to sell a one-stop threat management solution set. This will undoubtedly appeal to some customers that like to kick one supplier but would worry those that wish to spread their risk a bit.

From a product perspective the work that CipherTrust have done in reputational risk management should fit well into the Secure Computing portfolio. Prior to the acquisition the CipherTrust team have been starting to leverage the intelligence gained from the TrustedSource portal to enhance their response to security related issues.

This innovative approach moves away from the crude technique of signature based trapping of viruses and attack threats. By moving into behavioural recognition threats can be dealt with in a much brighter way.

Customers will no doubt be getting strong messages from their account managers that the CipherTrust/Secure Computing acquisition is all upside, but anyone that has been around mergers in the IT industry is only too aware of the pain they can cause.

Whilst CipherTrust and Secure Computing may be in their honeymoon period life can look very good, and the strategic and technical product fit look compelling. It is only when the detail is uncovered that issues will inevitably appear, be it products unable to work together or, more worryingly, teams not able to integrate.

The next few months will come down to strong, impartial leadership as difficult decisions will be made about product strategy and development. The appointment of Jay Chaudhry, founder of CipherTrust, as Vice Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer should ensure that the CipherTrust voices get an equal hearing to those entrenched in Secure Computing.

My hope is that the acquisition is a success as we need new and innovative ways to deal with the ever present security threat. It is only by adapting what and how we do things that we can hope to build and maintain an Assured business.

Secure Computing have the next few months to prove they can make this work.