Microsoft To Buy Sybari To Bolster Security

Sybari, East Northport, N.Y., is a longtime Microsoft ISV partner that makes security add-ons for Exchange Server and other products.

Terms were not disclosed, but Microsoft said the acquisition will become a "key part" of its enterprise security strategy. (For more, see interview with Microsoft CIO Ron Markezich on Microsoft site.)

"Through this acquisition, we're excited to be able to provide customers with a server-level antivirus solution that delivers advanced file and content-filtering capabilities and the use of multiple scan engines," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft's Security Business and Technology Unit, in a statement.

Microsoft has long walked a fine line between incorporating security technologies in its infrastructure products and relying on third parties to fortify them.

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"This is not a huge surprise. Microsoft has been talking about this for awhile. But there will be a huge impact on other [antispam/antivirus] players," said Ron Herardian, president of Global System Services, a Mountain View, Calif., solution provider and Microsoft partner.

Herardian said the deal will impact big security companies such as Symantec and McAfee, but will especially hurt smaller competitors. "There's a large number of small players here, like Proofpoint and Barracuda Networks," he said.

As for Symantec, the anti-virus giant, this is no big deal, according to Enrique Salem, senior vice president of network and gateway security. "Sybari has OEM'd a lot of third-party technologies and integrated differnet anti-virus scanners and antispam technologies through one common module, and by the way in the Exchange platform you were always able to integrate third party products," he said.

He insisted that large companies with heterogeneous networks do not want to buy one security solution for one server and another for another. "They run different operating systems, Solaris, Linux, Windows and they need security at all those points...and they need their desktops protected, their SMTP e-mail server, they need an end-to-end security solution," Salem said.

Microsoft has been buying small companies for their security expertise for some time. In December, Microsoft acquired Giant Company Software of New York, which makes spyware detection and removal software. In 2003 Microsoft acquired GeCAD, a Romanian antivirus company.

The goal will be to provide enterprise customers with a single Sybari product that works with multiple versions of Exchange and Lotus Notes, according to Microsoft's statement.

This story was updated Tuesday afternoon with Symantec comments.