Cisco Adds Another Security Company To Its Portfolio With Deal For U.K.-Based Portcullis

Chuck Robbins

Cisco Systems is adding another security company to its portfolio with its acquisition of U.K.-based consultancy firm Portcullis Computer Security, which provides security consulting services in Europe.

"[Cisco CEO] Chuck [Robbins] said he was going to invest in security and it was going to be a focus [for] him, so he's putting his money down and executing on his words," said Kent MacDonald, vice president of converged infrastructure and network services at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and Cisco partner. "The majority of Cisco's revenue is U.S.-based so this expansion into other [geographies] is always positive."

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant, which acquired security specialist Neohapsis earlier this year, is expected to complete the Portcullis deal in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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"Portcullis will help accelerate Cisco's security services business and more quickly expand its security consulting services outside of North America," said Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate business development at Cisco, in a blog post Wednesday. "Through this acquisition, we increase our ability to offer robust security, risk and compliance services to help clients overcome operational and technical security challenges, anticipate and respond to new threats, and drive new business."

Privately held Portcullis offers security services to enterprise clients and the government sector. The company offers assessments to identify vulnerabilities, forensic testing, first responder training to prepare for attacks, policy review and creation, security awareness training and overall security posture audits, according to Salvagno.

"Cisco has a lot around security and threat protection, so having some consulting services and expertise on that is really what they're trying to do on a global basis," said Robert Keblusek, CTO of Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sentinel Technologies, a Cisco Gold partner. ... It's a good thing for Cisco and the better Cisco gets at security the better offerings partners can bring to market."

Portcullis' portfolio also includes VoIP assessment services, network device testing and wireless assessment, according to its website. The company was founded in 1986 with a client base that includes telecoms, retail, government, education, energy and international blue chip clients.

Salvagno said Portcullis is a long-established consulting services company in Europe with an extensive customer network.

Cisco said the move complements its Neohapsis acquisition. Chicago-based Neohapsis is a consulting firm with broad risk management, compliance and infrastructure delivery services.

The networking giant has a goal to reach 20 percent to 30 percent of the $25 billion enterprise security infrastructure market over time, in which it currently holds 9 percent market share.

In 2013, the networking giant purchased Sourcefire for $2.7 billion and has since acquired several security companies. In addition to Neohapsis, Cisco has acquired OpenDNS, ThreatGrid and Cognitive Security. Cisco has also formed partnerships with security vendors such as Lancope and Zix Corp to fill in security gaps in its portfolio.

"They're looking at firms with innovative technology that they can quickly integrate into their solutions," said Sentinel Technologies' Keblusek. "Hopefully as they pull these things together over time, they're going to continue to have an improved end-to-end threat defense solution and that gives us as partners opportunity to wrap services around."

Portcullis will be part of the Cisco Security Solutions organization, led by Vice President James Mobley.