McAfee Acquires Stonesoft For Enterprise Firewall Capabilities

Stonesoft, Helsinki, Finland, touts a strong detection engine and multilayer inspection technology that enables it to detect and block advanced attacks. The company last year released technology it calls Evasion, designed to detect attempts by custom malware to avoid network detection over several layers of a corporate network. McAfee said the company's technology and product portfolio would help it grow its network security business.

"With the pending addition of Stonesoft's products and services, McAfee is making a significant investment in next-generation firewall technology," said Michael DeCesare, McAfee president. "We plan to integrate Stonesoft's offerings with other McAfee products to realize the power of McAfee's Security Connected strategy."

[Related: 9 Unified Threat Management Security Appliances To Watch In 2013 ]

Stonesoft's software and hardware-based next-generation firewall appliance performed well in NSS Labs 2013 testing, receiving a recommendation rating from the independent testing firm. While NSS Labs praised its reliable performance, it also said the product is pricier than other appliances. It requires a robust management system as well, making it more attractive to enterprise environments.

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McAfee sells an intrusion prevention system and an enterprise firewall. The foundation of the McAfee Firewall Enterprise product is the popular Sidewinder appliance it acquired in the 2008 acquisition of Secure Computing, said Pete Lindstrom, principal and vice president of research at Spire Security.

Stonesoft may have strong technology and a deep portfolio of products, but technology needs constant research and development to stay ahead of attackers, Lindstrom told CRN. McAfee has a significant track record of buying and selling, he said.

"They're like the day traders of the computer security industry," Lindstrom said of McAfee. "As with day traders, market timing is everything, and this could be in the cycle where they will get some traction."

McAfee said it was committed to further developing Stonesoft's technologies. In addition to its next-generation firewalls and intrusion prevention systems, Stonesoft sells SSL VPN software for businesses of all sizes, McAfee said. Stonesoft said it has more than 6,500 customers globally.

"The combination of the two companies allows Stonesoft to benefit from McAfee's global presence and sales organization of over 2,200 employees, best-in-class threat research and technology synergies," said Ilkka Hiidenheimo, CEO of Stonesoft, in a statement.

Stonesoft, with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, recently launched its U.S. channel program. In addition to the two-tiered program, the company supports MSPs. Stonesoft in March also unveiled a partnership with Claremont, N.H.-based reseller Red River, in a move to grow Stonesoft business in the public sector.