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Check Point To Buy Serverless Security Firm Protego To Protect Cloud

The acquisition of early-stage vendor Protego’s serverless security technology should help Check Point customers avoid having vulnerable code deployed into production.

Check Point Software Technologies plans to purchase early-stage security vendor Protego to prevent malicious attacks on serverless functions in run time.

The San Carlos, Calif.-based platform security vendor said the move to cloud-native applications bears many inherent vulnerabilities and potential misconfigurations that require extending security tools to protect functions and code. Check Point said its acquisition of Baltimore-based Protego’s serverless security technology should help prevent vulnerable code from being deployed into production.

“With the acquisition of Protego, we really fill in another gap,” said Frank Rauch, Check Point’s head of worldwide channel sales. “With the emphasis that AWS is putting on Lambda - and with Azure doing the same thing - we really enhance our position.”

[Related: Check Point Buys IoT Security Startup Cymplify To Safeguard Firmware]

Customers have embraced serverless environments to simplify their cloud ecosystem by having the cloud providers dynamically manage the allocation of machine resources on their behalf, Rauch said. The shift takes a lot of detailed work in the cloud away from customers, but provides partners with services opportunities around assessing, migrating, managing and distributing workloads, Rauch said.

The Protego technology will be a good fit for solution providers that have invested heavily in application development and migration since serverless technology has become a big part of how applications and workloads are run, Rauch said. Partners with large public cloud and managed cloud services practices will also benefit from Protego by becoming more consultative with customers about their application needs.

In addition to cloud-native solution providers, Rauch said many worldwide data center partners and pure-play security partners would be interested in Protego’s technology due to the strong relationships they’ve formed with the likes of Azure and AWS. Being able to provide this capability without having to turn to a very early-stage vendor is appealing to partners that wish to streamline operations, he said.

“Partners have bet a lot of their future on cloud,” Rauch told CRN. “Many of them are leading with public cloud solutions right now.”

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close this quarter, weren’t disclosed. Check Point’s stock is down $1.52 (1.29 percent) to $116.36 in late morning trading Monday.

Protego was founded in 2017, employs 18 people, and raised $2 million of outside funding in a May 2019 seed round led by led by Ron Gula of Gula Tech Adventures, Glilot Capital Partners, and the MetroSITE Group of security industry leaders, including former RSA CTO Tim Belcher, according to LinkedIn and Crunchbase.

The rapid adoption of serverless computing technologies such as AWS Lambda has challenged existing cloud and application security paradigms, according to Check Point. In response, the company said it will be first to market with an offering for cloud workload protection and security posture management, providing continuous serverless security with unmatched run time protection and application hardening.

Check Point said it plans to integrate Protego’s serverless security technology into its Infinity architecture in the first quarter of 2020. The Infinity platform supports networks, mobile, endpoint, IoT and cloud environments, according to Check Point.

Infusing Check Point CloudGuard with serverless security will provide CISOs with full visibility, control and complete security coverage of the entire serverless estate with just the click of a button, according to the company.

In addition, Protego’s technology integrates out of the box with a broad set of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) frameworks so that DevOps teams can ensure that only compliant functions are deployed to production. Customers have praised Protego’s technology for its innovative identity and access management (IAM) hardening capabilities and minimal performance impact.

The deal comes just six months after top Check Point competitor Palo Alto Networks purchased early-stage serverless security startup PureSec for $47 million. Adding Tel Aviv, Israel-based PureSec to the Palo Alto Networks Prisma cloud security suite put the company in a unique position to secure modern applications throughout their entire lifecycle, the company said at the time.

Meanwhile, for Check Point, this is the company’s fourth acquisition in the past 14 months. The company bought security startup Cymplify last month to defend IoT devices against highly-sophisticated attacks by hardening and protecting the devices’ firmware.

Check Point acquired emerging web application and API protection vendor ForceNock in January to bolster its advanced machine-learning protection capabilities. And in October 2018, Check Point purchased emerging vendor Dome9 for $175 million to help customers secure multi-cloud deployments across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

All told, Check Point has made 15 acquisitions over the course of its 26-year history, according to Crunchbase.

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