Data loss start-ups sell out

Rapid consolidation could mean 'baked-in' data leakage features will appear in security products from vendors such as Cisco, Symantec, Trend Micro and McAfee

Following its acquisition of Onigma late last year, McAfee used that company's products as the basis of its foray into the anti-data leakage market in February. In October, McAfee acquired encryption and access-control vendor SafeBoot, and plans to launch a new data-protection product business unit based on the integration of these technologies, officials say.

WebSense, which acquired anti-data leakage vendor PortAuthority last December and earlier this year bought e-mail security vendor SurfControl, is ahead of the pack in integrating technology from acquired companies into its main product line. In July, WebSense announced it had integrated Port Authority's content protection suite with its ThreatSeeker Web security product, and is currently fusing features from SurfControl's e-mail security technology as well.

"It's the combination of what you know about your employees combined with what you know about malicious activity on the Internet...we're the only company that can set granular policies and enforce them around information protection," says Leo Cole, WebSense's director of marketing.

Cisco, via its IronPort subsidiary, is already putting anti-data leakage features into existing platforms, and is exploring whether it makes sense to also add content scanning to infrastructure offerings.

"Most of the customers we talk to want [anti-data leakage] integrated into their existing platforms," says Tom Gillis, vice president of marketing with IronPort, which Cisco purchased in January. The company in September added anti-data leakage features to its e-mail security appliance, and says there may be opportunities to include variants of these capabilities to Cisco switches and routers as well.

IronPort is focused mainly on protecting data in motion -- because that's the strength of the company's e-mail and Web security appliances -- and believes there's great benefit to being able to do fairly straightforward tasks such as blocking credit-card information from being sent in an unencrypted e-mail.

Others, however, believe the greatest benefit these tools can offer is to help enterprises figure out what and where their sensitive information is.

"Protecting information is a concern for us, our proprietary information is out there in a bunch of different locations, it's tougher to protect it because I don't know how it's going out, where it's going, and trying to locate it all," says one security professional with a high-tech manufacturing company who asked not to be named and uses an anti-data leakage product from Reconnex, one of the few independent companies left in the market. "That's probably the toughest part, to determine exactly what critical data is."

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