Barracuda Snaps Up Security Vendor NetContinuum


For Barracuda, best known for its anti-spam and Web filtering appliances, the acquisition adds a high-end product line that protects Web sites against unauthorized access and theft of customer data, said Ezra Hookano, vice president of North American sales at Barracuda, Campbell, Calif.

Terms of the deal, which closed in mid-July, were not disclosed.

"Almost every big-name security issue that's come up in the last six to nine months [from companies such as T.J. Maxx, eBay and], all of those things were caused because the Websites themselves were not secure," Hookano said. "We see a lot of smaller and mid-size companies getting pressure from Visa, MasterCard and the others saying that if you're taking credit card numbers and you're not securing that data, you're going to have the liability."

Another major driver for sales of NetContinuum's Web application firewalls is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which calls for e-commerce companies to either submit to a detailed audit or install an application firewall by June 30, 2008, said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management at Barracuda.

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Historically, NetContinuum, Santa Clara, Calif., has sold its security products to large enterprise and government customers through a channel cadre of less than 100 high-end systems integrators and VARs. In contrast, Barracuda's worldwide channel force of approximately 3,000 solution providers focuses primarily on small and mid-size businesses, giving Barracuda the opportunity to push NetContinuum products out through a broader channel base, Barracuda executives said.

While Barracuda is working now to integrate NetContinuum partners into its channel program and will continue to rely on them for sales to enterprise accounts, executives also said Barracuda will be looking at ways to make NetContinuum's technology easier and less expensive to deploy so that channel partners can roll it out to smaller customers.

"What Barracuda hopes to do is bridge the gap between what used to be a difficult, enterprise-focused sale and make that available to the small and mid-size business, which in our opinion will open up opportunities for SMB-focused VARs," Hookano said.

A "fair amount" of training will be required to educate solution providers on the new technology and the market it plays in, Hookano said.

In the meantime, Barracuda will work jointly with Barracuda partners that have sales opportunities for NetContinuum technology.

The majority of NetContinuum's 75 employees have joined Barracuda. One notable exception is NetContinuum CEO Varun Nagaraj, who is "seeking to go do other things," Pao said.

Barracuda will be branding the NetContinuum Web Application Firewall and NetContinuum Application Gateway under the Barracuda name, Pao said.