Which Of One These Security Companies Will Cisco Buy Next?

Reading Between The Lines

There are ten security companies Cisco is investing in and if history repeats itself, the networking giant could acquire one, or a few of them. In 2015, Cisco acquired security vendors Embrane and OpenDNS, both of whom were backed by the company's venture capital arm.

"This venture portfolio has historically been a source of acquisition for Cisco," said UBS analyst Steven Milunovich, in a recent report. "Cisco management has indicated continued interest in tuck-in M&A to round out its architectural approach in security."

As San Jose, Calif.-based network leader continues its aggressive acquisition strategy, CRN takes a look at the 10 security companies Cisco is investing in and why each may be a good fit for the company and its channel.


CEO: Rajeev Khanolkar

Headquarters: Edison, NJ

"This could be Cisco's answer to 'security as a service,'" said one network security analyst from a technology research firm, who declined to be identified due to company policy. "It would increase the amount of security services Cisco could offer on day one … It seems like possibly the best bet for Cisco around security services at this point in time."

SecurView offers a suite of risk management and managed security solutions through its cloud as-a-service. The company says it helps customers reduce the time, cost and risk associated in delivering infrastructure services such as unified communication, security and compliance.

SecurView already supports Cisco's email, web security and Identity Service Engine offerings.


CEO: John De Santis

Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

"Security has been the biggest inhibitor to cloud adoption," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, Westminster, Mass. "HyTrust offers robust cloud security that Cisco could integrate into its broader, enterprise-wide security architecture."

HyTust aims to simplify compliance and provides control into private clouds. HyTrust provides CloudControl, a control point in the cloud that does authentication, authorization and auditing for administrators of virtual infrastructure. The company's DataControl product provides encryption for virtual machines in any public or hybrid cloud.


CEO: Pavel Gurvich

Headquarters: San Francisco

" Given Cisco's strong data center focus over the past few years, GuardiCore seems like a no-brainer," said Kerravala. "Segmentation has been a red-hot market, but you can't secure what you can't see. GuardiCore has a rich visibility dashboard to help customers understand the end to end environment and where potential risks are."

Guardicore provides visibility into east-west traffic in the data center. The solution reroutes traffic if suspicious activity is detected, mitigating attacks in real-time.


CEO: Niel Viljoen

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Netronome develops flow processing silicon and software to increase network performance for virtualized servers and networks by offloading compute-intensive workloads such as security, flow analysis, content processing, deep packet inspection, intelligent load balancing and network virtualization.

"Throughout its history, Cisco has leveraged innovation in silicon. Netronome would give Cisco a rich set of security capabilities at a chip level to improve the efficiency of all of its network and security products," said Kerravala.


CEO: J. Paul Haynes

Headquarters: Ontario, Canada

The security-as-a-service company focuses on advanced threat detection and intervention. eSentire uses threat intelligence, third party feeds and packet-capture analytics platform to monitor, detect threats and use forensics capabilities to manage the threat.

"Threat protection as a service is what many organizations want or will want in the future. So this would be yet another service for Cisco's [channel] partners for their security tool belt," said the network security analyst.


CEO: Christopher Key

Headquarters: Reston, VA

"The simulation capabilities from Verodin lets customers run "what if" scenarios. Customers can use the technology to fully understand how changes the environment will impact security," said Kerravala. "Cisco has been pushing its customers to be move faster. Verodin can enable this without increasing the level or risk."

Verodin allows an organization to execute cyber-attack simulations within live production environments safely. The company designed its solution to help organizations continually assess their security preparedness.

Skyport Systems

CEO: Art Gilliland

Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

The security startup provides hardened compute appliances that come integrated with a security software layer to protect virtual machines, which can be managed remotely.

"Skyport brings a completely new approach to securing mobile devices and cloud environments," said Kerravala. "Developers can build security directly into applications through the protection of virtual machines and active directory. Skyport would open doors with a number of new security buyers that typically would not consider network centric security."


CEO: Josh Lefkowitz

Headquarters: New York, NY

Flashpoint touts itself as being the pioneer in the monitoring of threatening communities active in the "Deep & Dark Web" -- areas of the Internet that mainstream search engines are unable to access such as password-protected web forums, chat services, file sharing and peer-to-peer technologies like BitTorrent. The startup delivers searchable and structured data from a variety of illicit communities.

" Flashpoint would enable Cisco to move up the stack and protect against user and application layer threats," said the network security analyst.

Team8 Labs

CEO: Nadav Zafrir

Headquarters: New York, NY; Tel Aviv, Israel

Different from the rest of the vendors on this list, Team8 is a security startup incubator that works with leaders and entrepreneurs to create disruptive technologies and launch new cybersecurity companies. The company provides the funding, research, expertise, network and talent to startup teams.

"This would be a startup talent play for Cisco … using [Team8's] talent and knowledge to work along with its innovation machine," said the security network executive.

Illusive Networks

CEO: Shlomo Touboul

Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel

The first company launched by Team8, Illusive helps organizations measure the effectiveness of their security infrastructure through automated defense analysis.

"Cisco has been a big proponent of automation. Illusive would enable Cisco to bring automation tools to security improving the effectiveness of its 'network as a sensor' vision," said Kerravala.