Check Point hopes to buy mobile security company

CheckPoint bids for Sweden-based Pointsec Mobile Tecchnologies

Check Point plans to expand the scope of its security products by adding data encryption for mobile devices, technology it will acquire from Pointsec Mobile Technologies if a bid offered this week is accepted.

Check Point put in a US$586 million bid for the Sweden-based company that is owned by Protect Data. The purchase requires 90 percent approval of Protect Data stockholders, who can't register approval until Dec.22, according to Check Point Chairman and CEO Gil Shwed. Additional regulatory reviews might be needed, he says. The deal could not go through until next year.

If it is successful, Check Point will be able to encrypt data on mobile devices to prevent them from being accessed should the devices be lost or stolen. Shwed says he is interested in Pointsec because it is one of the largest vendors in this field and its products are easy to deploy and can scale to thousands of devices. Pointsec competitors include Credant, PC Guardian and Trust Digital.

He says Check Point plans to integrate management of Pointsec into its security management platform to make it possible to set broad network security policies from a single platform. "A security administrator will see security events from the VPN, security events from the endpoints or from the PCs that do data security," Shwed says. "The security administrator will be able to manage the attributes of users in one place."

This would be valuable to protect networks and data more effectively and to block mobile devices more quickly once they have been reported missing, Shwed says. He is uncertain how long that integration would take. "I'm not sure if it will take nine months or two years," Shwed says.

Check Point spent a lot of time over the past year evaluating network security looking for areas into which it could expand from its existing firewall, VPN and intrusion-prevention products, Shwed says. He said the company identified data protection as one of the hottest areas.

He says that evaluation has identified other areas the company will embrace, but he will not discuss them until he is prepared to lay out a company strategy road map sometime in the next few months. A clue as to the direction of that road map may come from Check Point's attempt last year to buy intrusion-detection vendor >Sourcefire, a deal that was canceled by the U.S. government.

Shwed says the Pointsec technology is the most significant part of the upcoming plan but that Check Point might need to buy other technologies to flesh out the rest of the strategy. Other parts will come from in-house development, he says.

Shwed says he may put more emphasis on selling Check Point products as appliances as part of this strategy. The company has been criticized for selling mainly software products when it is clear from the success of security appliance sales that customers like them.

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