Symantec To Acquire Fireglass, Adds New Threat Isolation Capabilities To Security Platform

Symantec isn't done making acquisitions to build on its security platform strategy, as the security vendor said Thursday it plans to acquire threat isolation startup Fireglass.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tel Aviv-based Fireglass launched from stealth early last year with an enterprise network security offering designed to isolate web activity from the network, assuming all of it is bad. The Fireglass Threat Isolation Platform acts as an "air gap" between potential attacks from web, email and documents, and the endpoint and web applications.

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The approach is different than traditional Secure Web Gateways, which Symantec already offers and which for the most part rely on signatures to separate good traffic and web activity from bad.

Symantec CEO Greg Clark said in a statement that the acquisition breaks Symantec into the market for threat isolation in a big way, a market he said will become increasingly more important to a company's security portfolio. The acquisition boosts Symantec's existing endpoint, email and secure web gateway solutions, he said.

"Isolation will become a core component in the design of cyberdefense architectures for the cloud generation who face the reality of an encrypted internet and the crisis inherent in email and web-delivered attacks. … Isolation is a key element of securing the cloud generation and is even a productivity gain for both the end user and security operations center," Clark said in the statement.

The acquisition also builds on Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec's security platform story – called the Integrated Cyber Defense Platform -- which looks to build a full set of integrated security offerings for customers and partners.

Sarah Isaacs, managing partner of Chicago-based Conventus, said in an email to CRN that the acquisition adds a big boost to the network security side of the Symantec portfolio, balancing out the company's strong endpoint security offerings. She said it also appears to be a "clean fit" with the Blue Coat portfolio.

"From a partner perspective, this new investment seems to add more network security-focused technologies to their already comprehensive coverage of the endpoint. … [It's a] natural fit for expanding the network security story for any channel partners," Issacs said.

The Fireglass offerings will be available to partners and customers soon after the acquisition closes, according to Symantec. The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2017.

Fireglass has had a channel-focused strategy since its launch and secured $20 million in funding in February 2016, according to CEO Guy Guzner. In an interview with CRN at the time, Guzner said he knows the value of the channel from his time at Check Point Software Technologies, where he was head of security products, and planned to pursue that same strategy. In a statement about the acquisition, Guzner said joining Symantec will allow the company to get global scale.

The acquisition comes on the heels of two blockbuster acquisitions by Symantec last year. Symantec acquired Blue Coat Systems last summer for $4.65 billion and LifeLock last fall for $2.3 billion. However, CEO Clark said last fall that the company wasn't done making acquisitions. While he didn't specify what areas the company might make a buy in, he said Symantec will be building a security story around the four pillars of information, users, web and messaging security, using both organic R&D and inorganic acquisitions.