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Opswat Buys Security Vendor Impulse To Defend Critical Infrastructure

Opswat has historically focused on threats against data and devices, but realized it needed more insight into the network piece of the equation to deliver the entire picture to its customers, says CEO Benny Czarny.

Opswat has purchased Network Access Control (NAC) and Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) provider Impulse to help protect the United States’ critical infrastructure from future cyberattacks.

The San Francisco-based cybersecurity vendor said its acquisition of Tampa, Fla.-based Impulse will strengthen its offerings in the secure device access space to include NAC, secure access with SDP and Secure Device Access via Opswat’s MetaAccess, which is focused on cloud applications. The deal will also allow Opswat to provide an end-to-end NAC offering that is interoperable by design, the company said.

“The network component is really necessary to provide the complete story to our customers,” Opswat Founder and CEO Benny Czarny told CRN. Terms of the deal, which closed Tuesday, weren’t disclosed.

[Related: The Top 10 Security M&A Deals Of 2019 (So Far)]

Opswat has historically focused on threats against data and devices, but realized it needed more insight into the network piece of the puzzle to deliver the entire picture to its critical infrastructure companies, Czarny said. Only through the network piece can Opswat customers gain insight into where the devices are, where the data is flowing, and where agents should be installed, according to Czarny.

The company has partnered with SDP and NAC vendors for several years, Czarny said, but realized that direct ownership over the assets would help drive pre-sales trust and ownership among channel partners as well as simplify the post-sales support and integration process. Getting the complete bundle from a single vendor will cut down on unnecessary conflict for customers, according to Czarny.

Czarny said he was drawn to the ease of installing and deploying Impulse’s technology as well as the ease of integrating it into Opswat’s existing endpoint and data pieces. He also praised Impulse for the quality of the leadership it has in place as well as its culture of mutual respect between employees.

Plus acquiring Impulse will allow Opswat to build a strong base on the East Coast of the United States. Czarny expects Opswat’s Florida base will actually be bigger than its San Francisco headquarters in three years’ time due to the pool of talent in the area and the lower cost of operation as compared with the Bay Area. The company expects to hire engineering, sales and support talent in its Tampa, Fla. office.

Opswat also plans to increase the share of business flowing through the channel from 50 percent today to 75 percent four years from now thanks in part to now being able to provide a holistic view of infrastructure protection, according to Czarny. The company plans to begin cross-training legacy Opswat partners on the legacy Impulse technology and vice versa to help the channel sell the whole portfolio.

Impulse brings about 100 partners to the table, which include a strong resale relationship with Dell, tight bonds with direct market resellers like SHI and CDW, and relationships with local and regional partners, according to Impulse COO Laura Ellis.

Opswat, meanwhile, works with roughly 200 solution providers today, including global players like Optiv, boutique channel partners who focus on critical infrastructure, and distribution for its U.S. federal business, according to Czarny.

Impulse was founded in 2004 by serial entrepreneur David Robinson in 2004 to address the many challenges faced by businesses around managing network access control across endpoint devices. The company employs 32 people, according to LinkedIn. Virtually all of Impulse’s employees will become employed by Opswat with the exception of Robinson, who will instead serve in an advisory role.

Impulse’s NAC product offers flexible endpoint policy management for bring-your-own-device settings while the company’s SDP tool protects data and applications regardless of whether they reside on-premises or in the cloud, according to Opswat. The company services customers in a variety of verticals including financial services, energy, higher education and government agencies, the company said.

“The network perimeter is no longer confined to the four walls of a physical data center,” Robinson said in a statement. “Rather, it extends out to every employee device or cloud-based application, introducing new complexities and risks to overwhelmed security teams.”

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