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Micro Focus Buys Cybersecurity Startup Interset For Analytics Expertise

Micro Focus said its acquisition of Interset will help drive deeper data insights and help customers quickly and accurately validate and assess risk.

Micro Focus has purchased Interset to unlock machine learning and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) capabilities to aid with threat detection analysis.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based software giant said its acquisition of Kanata, Ontario-based cybersecurity startup Interset will help drive deeper data insights and help customers quickly and accurately validate and assess risk. Interset provides security analytics software that's focused on protecting businesses from cyberthreats.

"We're bringing in some industry-leading analytics and domain expertise that will enhance the technologies we already have," said Joe Garber, Micro Focus's global head of strategy and solutions.

[Related: Security Analytics Vendor Interset Inks Deal With Branch Of Lockheed Martin]

The deal will enable Interset to honor its original mission and vision around security operations while at the same time providing the company with a broader platform to extend its vision, said Ross Sonnabend, Interset's SVP of strategy and operations. Sonnabend will lead Interset's operations within Micro Focus since Interset CEO Mark Smialowicz will be stepping away from the company.

Interset and Micro Focus have been working together for more than a year as part of an OEM arrangement, Sonnabend said. As a result, Sonnabend said Interset was exposed to Micro Focus's people and culture, determining that both organizations are very focused on engineering.

"It was just a good fit," Sonnabend said.

Terms of the deal, which was complete Friday, weren't disclosed. Micro Focus's stock is down $0.30 (1.36 percent) to $21.73 in trading midday Friday.

In the short-term, Interset will continue to operate as a separate entity and be sold as a standalone tool, Garber said. But over time, Garber said Micro Focus wants to leverage Interset's capabilities across its analytics portfolio through integrations with the ArcSight security information and event management (SIEM) platform and NetIQ identity and access management tool.

Analytics will be increasingly important to security customers going forward, Garber said, as customers look for more insight into how they should best go about securing their applications and infrastructure.

"You don't need to protect everything all the time," Garber said. "You need to protect the right things in the right way."

From a channel perspective, Interset and Micro Focus partners will continue to sell their own product portfolios until the integration work is complete, with cross-sell opportunities remaining limited, Garber said. But once the two businesses are integrated nine to 12 months from now, Garber said Interset's channel program will be incorporated directly into Micro Focus's.

Interset has primarily worked with OEMs and MSSPs, while Micro Focus has a broader partner portfolio with expertise in security, risk and governance as well as legal and compliance and analytics, according to Garber and Sonnabend. All of Interset's employees except for Smialowicz will be joining Micro Focus, Sonnabend said.

Interset was founded in 2015, and employs 83 people, according to LinkedIn. The company has raised $24 million in two rounds of outside funding, according to CrunchBase.

Interset is the 13th acquisition Micro Focus has made in its more than four decades of existence, according to CrunchBase, and comes nearly 14 months after the company purchased COBOL-IT, a vendor of open-source COBOL offerings. Security capabilities acquired by Micro Focus via acquisition include ArcSight and Fortify in 2010, Identity and Access and ZENworks in 2014, and Voltage in 2015.

Most businesses are still in a reactive mode when it comes to security threats, but customers are becoming more and more aware of the need to look forward, according to Juha Sallinen, founder and CEO of Espoo, Finland-based Micro Focus partner GDPR Tech. Although customers understand the need, Sallinen said it's going to take time to generate the awareness needed for spending patterns to change.

Sallinen said he's pleased that Micro Focus is developing and acquiring more tools for its partners to sell, but cautioned that adoption will be gradual given all the other projects most customers are attempting to juggle.

"There is no budget for being proactive," Sallinen said. "There is no business need for that until something happens."

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