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Palo Alto Networks Acquires CirroSecure To Boost SaaS Application Security Offerings

As more enterprises start to adopt Software-as-a-Service applications, Palo Alto Networks is bolstering its portfolio in that area with the acquisition of CirroSecure, the company announced on its third-quarter earnings call.

As more enterprises start to adopt Software-as-a-Service applications, Palo Alto Networks is bolstering its security portfolio in that area with the acquisition of CirroSecure.

On the company's third-quarter earnings call, during which the acquisition was unveiled, Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin said the acquisition will serve as the foundation for a new service to launch in the fall.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

[Related: Fortinet Dives Deep Into Enterprise Secure Wireless Market With Meru Networks Acquisition]

CirroSecure, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., delivers a tool to manage and secure SaaS applications by providing deep visibility into the application activity as well as data analytics for policy enforcement and quarantining violations. In particular, CirroSecure focuses on providing security visibility and analytics into a particular subset of those applications that are sanctioned by IT, such as Salesforce.com and Office 365.

"CirroSecure has a great combination of very interesting technology and a very smart group of core engineers, core technologists that we think would be a great fit at Palo Alto Networks," Lee Klarich, senior vice president of product development, said in an interview with CRN.

The Software-as-a-Service application market is a "small but quickly growing space" as enterprises become more comfortable with cloud-based applications, Klarich said. As a result, there's a "growing need" to secure those applications, he said.

"It's very important for Palo Alto Networks as a security platform that we are covering all users on all devices for all applications and that we're providing very innovative security capabilities in that context," Klarich said. "What this is is another extension of all applications. ... It allows us to provide a deeper level of security for SaaS applications."

For partners, Klarich said, the acquisition shows how Palo Alto is extending its platform to cover emerging security markets. By acquiring CirroSecure, Klarich said, partners can serve more of their clients' security needs with a single vendor, instead of having to invest in partnerships of many smaller vendors each time a new security threat emerges. On top of that, Klarich said, Palo Alto will be able to tie the solution in with its comprehensive platform for even greater visibility and data analytics into the security of the application.

"We're constantly taking an approach of product innovation and delivering innovation to our partners," Karich continued. "I do believe there is a high value to our partners with this acquisition in allowing them to continue the partnership they have with us, with another core security capability and another way for them to open the door to new business. ... I believe partners will be very excited about this and the value it brings to them."

Jon Robinson, president at Irvine, Calif.-based Digital Scepter, a Palo Alto partner, said he sees cloud adoption in enterprise clients as still in its "infancy," but said some larger customers are starting to put the Palo Alto security platform into their data centers and cloud. As part of that, Robinson said, there needs to be categorization of the Software-as-a-Service applications that are being used.


By eventually rolling that type of solution into the Palo Alto platform, Robinson said, the vendor is sticking with its platform strategy for partners.

"I think it fits with the story," Robinson said.

PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2015

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