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Forcepoint Acquires Skyfence From Imperva, Unveils New Strategy

Sarah Kuranda

Forcepoint isn't your grandmother's Websense anymore, CEO Matt Moynahan said.

Forcepoint launched into the market in January 2016, formed through the merger of a division of Raytheon, Websense and the McAfee Next-Generation Firewall and McAfee Firewall Enterprise businesses from Intel Security (also known as Stonesoft and Sidewinder, respectively).

Now, a year later, the company is reorganizing and rolling out a new strategy that Moynahan said leverages its military background and brings an entirely new approach to how to protect a businesses' critical information.

[Related: Raytheon|Websense Integrates Security Brands Into Single Platform, Relaunches Company As Forcepoint]

"It's time to take the covers off the company," Moynahan said in an interview with CRN. "We are here for the long term … This is just the first of many actions you will see that will solidify us as one of the more important security companies out there … We are a fundamentally different company."

Forcepoint will now look to take a new approach to platform security, Moynahan said, focusing on intellectual property and asset protection instead of focusing on securing infrastructure and looking for events that lead to a security incident. Moynahan compared this new approach to how banks pinpoint credit card fraud – looking for behavioral and abnormal behavior of an individual, rather than data sets of the entire country.

"Most of the security industry is taking a bottoms-up approach … Our vision for the company is to, with a single policy, allow companies to apply security protections to human behaviors as they intersect with information technology systems and to create context as people are interacting with it," Moynahan said.

To accomplish that, Forcepoint has realigned its businesses into four business units: Cloud Security, Network Security, Data & Insider Threat Security, and Global Governments. Moynahan said these business units will create efficiencies and focus in the sales teams, as opposed to allowing sales reps to sell any of the company's broad range of products.

"We are breaking the bones and resetting the company to be really strong when we grow up," Moynahan said. "We want products that actually work better together," he said.

Forcepoint also announced Wednesday the acquisition of Skyfence, a cloud access security brokerage division of Imperva. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition will extend Forcepoint's strategy to protect IP and assets to the cloud, integrating Skyfence's technology with its own web security and DLP technologies.


Allan Black, owner of Internet Content Management, said his Jackson, Miss.-based company partners with both Forcepoint and Imperva, selling the Skyfence product as an add-on to the Forcepoint portfolio. He said he has been hoping for over a year for this acquisition to take place, saying it is "really going to help our customers."

"We have so many customers now - more and more every year - moving to the cloud. To extend either the DLP policy or the UBA policies and functionality to those sources or to those areas is huge. As more and more customers see the need to move to the cloud, it's going to be absolutely necessary to expand those policies to the cloud," Black said.

Jeremy Wittkop, CTO at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based InteliSecure, also cheered the acquisition of Skyfence, saying the two companies complement the weak points in each other's portfolios and address growing client needs for DLP and advanced insider threat protection in the cloud. He said the two technologies are a "fantastic fit."

"With more information moving to the cloud, that blind spot has gotten too loud for organizations to ignore," Wittkop said.

Internet Content Management Vice President of Operations Mark Mahovlich said when the company was evaluating which platform security vendor to work with, it looked at long-term roadmap, platform capabilities and technology. He said Internet Content Management saw Forcepoint as "ahead of the game" around security and tied into the solution provider's strategy to use a layered defense and platform approach.

"We feel they are ahead of the game," Mahovlich said. "Forcepoint has a proven track record of making acquisitions and integrating that technology into that unified architecture, single pane of glass mentality… We think the future is bright there. They have proven they can do it and they will continue to do it."

Wittkop said he is also a "core believer" in the security philosophy that Forcepoint is going after around critical asset protection, saying that is a philosophy his company has followed since 2011. Under that new strategy, Wittkop said InteliSecure plans to increase its business with Forcepoint and its investment in the partnership over the next year.

Moynahan said Forcepoint will also be looking to invest in brand awareness over the next year. He said the company has critical mass, with around $600 million in revenue and around 2,500 employees, but it flies relatively under the radar in the security space. That's an area that partners agreed Forcepoint should invest going forward.

"I think they are doing a lot of really good things. Their challenge now is to get the word out better," Wittkop said. "I'm bullish on where they are going."

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