Raytheon|Websense Integrates Security Brands Into Single Platform, Relaunches Company As Forcepoint

Formed by the convergence of security acquisitions in recent months, Raytheon|Websense is relaunching into the market Thursday with a new name, Forcepoint, and a new strategy around building a unified security platform.

In May, Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor Raytheon closed its acquisition of Websense for $1.9 billion, forming a joint venture called Raytheon|Websense that combined the security vendor with Raytheon Cyber Products (RCP). More recently, in October, the company announced internally that it planned to acquire the McAfee Next-Generation Firewall and McAfee Firewall Enterprise businesses from Intel Security (also known as Stonesoft and Sidewinder, respectively), an acquisition that closed this month.

All of the pieces are now coming together under a single brand, Forcepoint, in a move that will help the company provide clarity on its vision for a unified security platform, said John Starr, vice president of global channel sales.

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"For us, we think the portfolio of technology warrants a new face, not simply using Websense or Raytheon|Websense or Stonesoft or Sidewinder," Starr said in an interview with CRN. "We're a very different company than any of those individual companies were, and at the end of the day, we want others to know it."

Starr said Forcepoint picked its new name from more than 3,500 options, trying to pick a name that embodied where the company wanted to go. Starr said the company ultimately settled on Forcepoint because it signified both "strength" and "direction."

Sandra Catana, vice president of marketing at Titus, an Ottawa, Ontario-based Websense partner, said the new name was "amazing," and hoped it would act as a "rally point" to bring together the various brands.

"Rebranding after a merger or acquisition is critical to ensure all the employees, customers and partners are aligned," Catana said. "It's great to see them grow that brand and grow the company. … I'm excited to see what is going to happen."

But Steve Snider, president of Cincinnati-based Cadre, a longtime Websense partner, said the rebrand can't be the end of the road for the vendor's evolution. He said Websense unfortunately fell behind the market in recent years, and hopes it will use the acquisition and brand change to catalyze larger business decisions for the better.

"They haven't turned it around yet," Snider said. "They will have to come out with some fairly substantial messaging saying, 'We're not just changing the branding, but we're also changing the way we do business.' "

With a platform-based approach, Starr said, he believes Forcepoint is in a position to do just that. With a strong and broad portfolio of security solutions, Starr said, he believes Forcepoint will be able to use the platform approach, founded on Websense's Triton technology, to capitalize on a customer buying shift to consolidate their portfolios under a single vendor or few vendors.

"I think that we believe we have a head start [over other vendors pursuing the platform strategy]," Starr said. "The combination of capabilities our platform will have is unique. … We've got the financial wherewithal and the experience to get it done, which again I think is a differentiator that very few companies have in the market today that are thinking of going through this unified platform strategy."

The integration of the solutions is already well underway, Starr said, with Websense's Triton platform already integrated with key technologies from Raytheon Cyber Products. He said there is no integration yet completed with Stonesoft and Sidewinder, but the plans are already in place.

From a channel perspective, Starr said, Forcepoint plans to welcome Stonesoft and Sidewinder partners from Intel Security with open arms in what he said would be a "smart, pragmatic" approach. He said the goal is to keep current Websense partners engaged as it also gets folded into the ecosystem.

"We believe that as the partners get to know us, they will like what they see," Starr said.