CA Buys Network Security Software Firm

Security software maker Snare Networks Corp. in Silver Spring, Maryland, has become the latest acquisition by Computer Associates International Inc. in Islandia, New York. Terms weren't disclosed.

It was SnareNet VPN that was a prime attraction for CA, said Kurt Ziegler, vice president of security at CA. Snare Networks also makes SnareNet, a data encryption product for TCP/IP applications that has sold 600,000 licenses, mostly in government and banking.

The SnareNet technology will be integrated into CA's eTrust security products. It will be released within the next two months as eTrust VPN, Ziegler said.

"It's a nice fit for CA," said Matthew Kovar, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. "A lot of their products need to be able to communicate securely over the LAN and the larger WAN environment, and this will let them do that."

The SnareNet VPN product differs from other virtual private network (VPN) software in that it doesn't reside on or at the firewall, but on servers within the network. Administration of payload encryption and VPNs is from a central server.

Integrating security measures at the firewall may be more cost-effective for smaller organizations, but "when company assets have a higher value, it's more applicable to use stand-alone devices," Kovar said.

"If you put a router, firewall and VPN on one device and the firewall goes down and brings the whole box down, [network staff] will bring the router up immediately to get the network up and worry about the firewall later," he said.

CA's eTrust family of security products has had payload encryption capabilities via Hoffman algorithm-based technology from recently purchased Platinum Technology and CA's CryptIT, which included a proprietary low-overhead cipher.

Snare Networks developers will continue at the Silver Spring location, working on further enhancements to eTrust, including integration of public key infrastructure capabilities, expected by year's end, Ziegler said.

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