Barracuda Enters SaaS Security Space With Purewire Acquisition

Barracuda, which entered the security market six years ago as an appliance vendor, is not entirely new to the service space. However, the acquisition of Purewire, a SaaS-based secure Web gateway provider, puts Barracuda on par with many established SaaS security providers, and positions the company as a strong player in the growing SaaS security market.

Executives contend that the Purewire acquisition doesn't take the company in a whole new direction -- rather Purewire's emphasis as a SaaS security company aligns with Barracuda's core competencies in e-mail security, Web and IM protection appliances and services, which ultimately provide an even bigger service opportunity and focus for its partners, executives said.

"The partner demand comes from customer demand, and the customer demand is what we listen to," said Barracuda CEO Dean Drako. "Barracuda is famous for its ease of deployment. SaaS is the new frontier for 'ease of deployment.' It's even a little easier to deploy."

The acquisition also gives a new enterprise and midmarket focus to Purewire partners, which have primarily targeted the SMB space.

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Executives said that until now, Barracuda offered SaaS for backup functions as well as some SaaS spam and virus filtering but lacked a comprehensive Web SaaS offering. Subsequently, Barracuda amalgamated the two models in hybrid solutions -- a security appliance combined with SaaS.

"The partners have seen it evolve," Drako said. "The next step is to offer services that are even more SaaS-based. To them, it's our obvious evolution."

Down the road, Barracuda will offer an array of SaaS and hybrid security services that eventually will integrate Purewire's existing Web Security Service into Barracuda's existing SaaS portfolio and product line, with a special emphasis on remote user support, slated to rely heavily on Purewire technologies, executives said.

The acquisition will also put an increased emphasis on research and threat-detection efforts. Barracuda and Purewire are combining their threat research teams to form the new Barracuda Labs, in which researchers will develop global threat intelligence used in their security products and powering their cloud-based Energize Updates service.

"How do you keep users safe on the Web today? How do we help users when they're dealing with the other malicious users online?" said Paul Judge, Purewire co-founder and chief technology officer. "One of the core focuses of the [Barracuda Labs] group will really be taking advantage of all the information that's available."

As part of the acquisition, Mike van Bruinisse, Purewire co-founder and CEO, is coming on board as Barracuda vice president of enterprise sales, while Judge will take over as Barracuda vice president of cloud services and chief research officer.

Barracuda executives said they planned to work with all of Purewire's channel partners in a comprehensive training program known as Barracuda University, intended to get Purewire partners up to speed on all of Barracuda's products and services as the two teams continue to merge, executives said.

"SaaS has been eating up the channel," Judge said. "Many of those organizations that have been delivering appliances now have an alternative deployment approach."