Websense Poised For Boom In Data Leak Prevention

In June, just five months after closing its first ever acquisition -- the $90 million purchase of data leak prevention startup PortAuthority -- Websense plans to roll out a fully integrated product that marries its own user behavior analysis technology with data leak prevention technology, which identifies sensitive or confidential content in corporate networks and prevents it from being sent outside, Hodges said. He declined to offer more details on the product.

Data leak prevention will play well in the channel because it's a services-intensive offering, particularly when it comes to remediation, according to Hodges. "I think this will be $200-an-hour billing stuff, with engagements in the neighborhood of $400,000, and there isn't much of that around," he said.

Partners will be able to offer data leak prevention as an upsell within a layered product or as a modular, stand-alone security offering, Hodges added.

Larry Dannemiller, president of Business Security Solutions, a Houston-based integrator and Websense partner, said he's eager to tap into data leak prevention as a means to offer more sophisticated solutions.

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"We look at data leak prevention as a way to create a project that we might not have been able to create before, using high-dollar risk management consultants who can baseline the current strategy on data leakage, determine the important phrases, and then mine the databases and desktops for those phrases," Dannemiller said.

After inking an OEM deal with PortAuthority last September and revealing plans to offer data leak prevention products, Websense and its channel partners soon realized that other suitors were circling around the startup, Hodges said.

"Lots of vendors could have walked in and snapped [PortAuthority] up. This was not a company that was lonely at the dance," Hodges said.

However, before pulling the trigger on the deal, Websense did due diligence on six data-leak prevention vendors and discovered that PortAuthority was only one that was trying to move to a channel model, Hodges said. "For a startup, that's a really painful process, and they were going through that pain," he said.

From a technology standpoint, PortAuthority's policy management component -- which incorporates network location data -- is complementary to that of Websense, which is based on URL filtering and manages people rather than devices, Hodges said.

Hodges expects companies to begin spending more on data leak prevention solutions in the fourth quarter, at which time the services potential for the technology will be realized. "This will be a fairly classic back-end-loaded year for data leak prevention," he said.