Websense Buys Data Leak Prevention Firm

San Diego-based Websense on Wednesday unveiled a $90 million cash deal to acquire PortAuthority, which has offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Ra'anana, Israel. Websense said PortAuthority shareholders already have approved the deal, which is expected to close in January.

PortAuthority's technology monitors internal and outbound traffic to detect when confidential data is made available outside a company's protected data infrastructure. The technology then quarantines the data or encrypts it to prevent it from being accessed by unauthorized users.

The acquisition underscores the rise of data leak prevention technology as a way to guard against insider threats and help businesses comply with regulatory directives for securing confidential data. The deal also reflects Websense's goal to expand its offerings beyond its core content-filtering technology.

The PortAuthority purchase is a multiyear play by Websense to gain a foothold in the data leakage market, said Larry Dannemiller, president of Houston-based security integrator BSSI. "Websense did not just buy a company for a product. They bought a company with very smart scientists who have created very strategic patents around data leakage," he said.

Sponsored post

Those patents could be important in a space that's set to explode, Dannemiller noted. "The No. 1 concern that keeps CIOs up at night is the amount of sensitive data sloshing around inside corporations. Quite frankly, many companies have no answer for someone hooking up their iPod to their desktop and downloading tons of confidential data and walking right out the door," he said.

Websense and PortAuthority in September signed an OEM agreement to develop Deep Content Control, a technology that combines data leak prevention with Websense's ThreatSeeker technology, which scans the Web for threats and blocks exploits before they can get on the network, protecting companies until patches and signatures are created.

Websense plans to roll out fully integrated Deep Content Control products -- including a policy engine for managing individual users, as opposed to devices or IP addresses -- in the first half of next year, said Leo Cole, vice president of marketing.

Cole added that Websense also is working with about 50 security VARs with vulnerability assessment expertise to help educate the market on the benefits of Deep Content Control.