Cybertrust-Verizon deal creates new security behemoth

Acquisition completed today

The planned acquisition of managed security firm Cybertrust by Verizon Communications' Business unit was completed today, making the telco a more significant player in the Asia Pacific security market.

Cybertrust products will remain unchanged under the deal, which will see the company operate under the Verizon Business security division, and reporting to Verizon Business senior vice president and chief marketing officer Nancy Gofus.

Verizon Business director of marketing for Asia Pacific Darren Day said the $23 billion company will offer Cybertrust's security services with its own telecommunications and security products as a one-stop-shop.

"Customers will benefit from the new single point of contact; they will be able to out-task infrastructure to Verizon and security services to Cybertrust under the one brand," Day said.

He said the acquisition will give Verizon a foothold in its previously weak Asia Pacific security offerings and will better position it to strike deals with large business and government customers in the region.

The deal also cvompletes Verizon's follow-the-sun security operation centre strategy with the acquisition of Cybertrust's Canberra office, which will pick up its first nine-hour shift for the company today.

The company now has seven security operations centres through America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, and has 1100 security professionals globally, with 200 stationed in Australia.

Day said customers will be able to buy services in managed applications, hosting, network, and co-location services from Verizon, and application security, data privacy, and identity services from Cybertrust. He said the combined offerings cover network access, hardware, operating system, and storage platforms, data privacy, application servers, and business applications.

The deal is part of a trend of cybersecurity vendors getting swallowed up by larger companies; the announcement follows the acquisition of Counterpane Internet Security by BT in October last year, while storage vendor EMC bought out RSA Security in June 2006.

Rival telco AT&T globally introduced its Web Security service in April, which provides Web-content filtering and screening for malware, spyware, and Instant Messenger traffic.

Verizon Business has also acquired ICSA Labs, an independent division of Cybertrust which provides security product certification services. According to Cybertrust, the division has tested and certified 95 percent of the installed security products on the global market.

Some 170 staff have opted to move from Cybertrust to the Verizon business security division, while local staff offices of both businesses will be combined.

Ovum analyst Jan Dawson said the acquisition is important because Verizon and other telecom providers have lagged behind rival AT&T in security offerings.

"Although all the major providers have actively pursued the security opportunity, none has been able to tell as convincing a story, especially around network-based security, as AT&T," Dawson said. "This acquisition should catapult Verizon Business into a much stronger position on security."

Verizon's Gofus said the acquisition will give Verizon Business' security unit more of a global presence and new expertise in identity management and computer forensics. During a press conference Gofus said the company previously had "no expertise" in those areas, and customers were asking for those products.

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More about AT&TAT&TBillionBT AustralasiaCounterpaneCounterpane Internet SecurityEMC CorporationICSAMessengerOvumRSARSA, The Security Division of EMCVerizonWeb Security

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