Cisco To Acquire Perfigo

A separate OEM agreement allows Cisco solution providers to immediately sell Perfigo's CleanMachines policy enforcement server, console and agent software.

Russell Rice, manager of product marketing for system security technologies at Cisco, San Jose, Calif., said Perfigo's product will extend Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC). That framework, built into Cisco's routers and switches, is designed to enforce policy compliance at the end point so customers can implement self-defending networks.

"We view the compliance market as an important one, and we intend to bring it down from the enterprise," Rice said. "The solution blends very well [with NAC] and solves lower- to midmarket scenarios that NAC was not designed to target initially." Rice added that because NAC is more of a strategy than a stand-alone tool, "many channel partners have had problems selling the solution and convincing customers to take the leap."

Jeff Roback, vice president of engineering at Praxis, Los Angeles, predicted Perfigo technology would significantly accelerate the speed with which Praxis would start deploying NAC into its accounts.

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"The problem with NAC was that at its best, all it could do was block you and say, 'If you don't comply, here's where you can go to make sure you do,' " Roback said. "With Perfigo, we can push out security scans, enable compliance and move on. The technology enables us to offer a complete solution, a total package that customers will love."

Still, not all solution providers were as optimistic. Bill Hawkins, vice president of operations at Tailwind Associates, a Perfigo channel partner in Albany, N.Y., said he was "shocked" when he heard of the acquisition, and is concerned Perfigo's partners may get lost in the mix. "Everyone in this town sells Cisco," Hawkins said. "For us, as a boutique integrator, to become another player in the already saturated market, I'm afraid of what might happen."