Cisco finalizes IronPort acquisition

Networking company has bought Web security firm IronPort, but the acquisition could lead to conflict with Cisco's partner Trend Micro.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Cisco has finalized the acquisition of Web security firm IronPort Systems, which it originally said it would acquire in January.

The US$830 million deal, which was completed on Monday, will "add to Cisco's armory", according to Andy Buss, a senior analyst at Canalys. "This is Cisco's first real foray into content defense, acquiring a company that protects against Web threats by looking at content and sender," said Buss. "This will enhance its product offerings, but bring Cisco into conflict with its partner Trend Micro."

As Trend Micro has gateway antispam products, and is also launching products based on Web reputation, which assesses the trustworthiness of URLs, Cisco's acquisition could lead to friction between the partners, Buss said.

Trend Micro's software runs on Cisco's Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), while the company's antivirus uses Cisco's trust agent. Trend Micro aims its Web security products at small and midsize businesses and IronPort targets larger enterprises but, as Cisco adapts IronPort's technologies, it will bring it into conflict with Trend Micro. "In the future there will be a level of tension between the two," Buss said.

Nigel Seddon, Trend Micro's European business development director, said that Trend Micro would continue to be the sole software provider for Cisco ASA devices. "We are not aware of [Cisco] plans to use IronPort technologies [to the exclusion of Trend Micro]," Seddon told ZDNet UK.

Seddon added that Trend Micro would shortly be announcing more partnerships "utilizing non-antivirus threat content software bundled with Cisco products. On the ASA 500 we're broadening content," he said. "This acquisition will not affect our relationship [with Cisco] at all."

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