Enterasys Acquires Intrusion Detection Firm

Enterasys Networks acquired Network Security Wizards this week, an intrusion detection software firm, as a move to bolster security in its line of enterprise network equipment.

The company plans to integrate NWS's intrusion detection software into its enterprise switch, router and VPN products over the next few months. The terms of the deal, which was backed by Enterasys' parent company Cabletron Systems, were not disclosed.

Enterasys will immediately offer NSW's line of server-based intrusion detection tools as stand-alone products. The company also plans to release a dedicated intrusion detection network appliance based on the NSW software before the end of the year.

"Enterasys takes a very holistic approach to network security," says Ken Pappas, vice president for acquisitions and partnerships at Enterasys. Pappas says the deal will allow Enterasys to deploy intrusion detection throughout a network instead of just one single point, such as a firewall.

The integration of Enterasys and NWS products will include the development of software to run on Enterasys switches and routers that will sharpen interoperability with the NWS software, says Dick Bussere, network security architect at Enterasys.

"By putting a little more logic into a switch," Bussere says, "we'll be able to do [intrusion detection] right at each port."

The acquisition is the second for Enterasys in as many months. In late August, the company acquired VPN star-up Indus River Networks Inc. for $170 million, with plans to integrate Indus River VPN hardware and software products into its line of enterprise network equipment.

The additions of NWS and Indus River technologies are both attempts by Enterasys to add differentiating features to its core network hardware product lines, analysts say.

"Enterasys can't be perceived as being a commodity or just another equipment maker," says Paul Straus, an analyst with Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. "They have to add value, and they're differentiating themselves by adding improved security to their hardware products."

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