Websense Acquires PortAuthority

Websense, a firm specializing in URL filtering, announced it is acquiring PortAuthority. PortAuthority specializes in information leak prevention technology--e.g., scanning emails and file directories.

This illustrates several related trends:

  • Different companies have evolved to protect against different types of threats. For example, some firms have protected against email-based nastiness, others against Web-based nastiness.
  • Increasingly, customers want the ability to use the same control infrastructure to operate across different communications vectors.
  • The control of sensitive material--"information leakage protection"--is a young field that naturally overlaps with traditional threat protection.
  • Information leakage protection, done well, requires poorly understood technology. Traditional regular expression pattern-matching is too crude.
  • It makes sense for established threat control vendors, such as Websense, to acquire information leakage protection vendors, or work in partnership with them.
  • Expect more acquisitions of information leakage vendors, by vendors such as Symantec, over the next three years. McAfee made a recent acquisition.

The deal is worth $90 million, which includes $5 million in working capital and $4 million of debt. PortAuthority currrently has 60 employees and a $5 million revenue run rate. It's one of the market leaders--the low revenues illustrate the youth of the information leakage world. It started off as a digital rights management firm, and has had its document leakage products on the market for a year.

... David Ferris

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