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Cisco bolsters security with IronPort buy

Cisco Systems agreed Thursday to buy Internet gateway security vendor IronPort Systems Inc. for $830 million.

Cisco Systems Inc. announced Thursday that it plans to buy Internet security gateway appliance vendor IronPort Systems for $830 million in cash and stock.

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant said it would use the acquisition to add IronPort's email and messaging security features into its security product set. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2007.

IronPort, based in San Bruno, Calif., was founded in 2000 and has 3,000 customers including Cisco. IronPort's 400 employees would continue to run as a separate business unit in Cisco's Security Technology Group.

"We feel there is enormous potential for enhanced email and message protection solutions to be integrated into the existing Cisco Self-Defending Network framework," said Richard Palmer, senior vice president of Cisco's Security Technology Group in a statement. "Using the network as a flexible platform to integrate IronPort's technologies, Cisco will be able to build new security applications as customers' demands evolve."

The announcement marks Cisco's first acquisition of 2007. Cisco had been on a shopping spree of late, making nine acquisitions last year, including SyPixx Networks Inc, a software vendor that specializes in IP network-based video surveillance systems.

Cisco also shelled out about $48 million in June to acquire both Metreos and Audium in separate cash deals. Metreos added a development environment and run-time platform for IP telephony, while Audium adds similar technology for IP Contact Centers.

The company has also expanded partnerships, including business software vendor SAP.

In December, Cisco updated its Integrated Services Router platform, dropping in WAN optimization, a network analysis module and a tunnel-less virtual private network.

IronPort also has been making moves. In November it acquired email encryption vendor PostX Corp in an all stock transaction. IronPort integrated PostX technology into its email scanning capabilities in its appliances.

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