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Webroot adds email security with SaaS acquisition

Webroot adds email archiving, encryption and Web filtering with the acquisition of UK-based Email Systems.

Webroot Software, Inc., said it acquired UK-based Software as a Service (SaaS) email security vendor Email Systems to add email archiving, encryption and other features to its suite.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, Webroot said both businesses would continue to operate within existing market spaces in the near-term.

Boulder, Colo.-based Webroot said the acquisition would enable it to expand its offerings to include email archiving, image scanning and encryption, antispam, antiphishing and antivirus services for protecting email, http Web filtering and other Web-based communications.

Given they had limited resources to expand and our far greater size, it was a great combination.
Pete WatkinsCEO, Webroot

The features would be sold as an addition to the Webroot AntiSpyware Corporate Edition and AntiVirus end-point protection software.

Webroot has had a strong presence in the antispyware market, where it stood out as a best-of-breed solution. The company licensed antivirus functionality from Sophos in 2006 and has since felt pressure from larger vendors such as McAfee, Symantec, Microsoft and CA, which have added spyware tools to their suites.

Email Systems has been selling email and web protection, management and compliance services under the SaaS model since 2002. The company said its software is used by more than 1,500 businesses.

In an interview with, Webroot CEO Peter Watkins said the company would work on integrating its desktop solutions with Email Systems' SaaS offering. The integration should take about six months and the result would be the ability of the desktop software to talk with the gateway, he said.

Watkins said the company would also make a significant investment in new data centers to handle the expansion of the SaaS offering. Eventually the company could take on e-mail protection and security services vendor MX Logic Inc. and security and compliance vendor Postini Inc., which has more than 35,000 customers. Hosted network security software vendor Qualys Inc. is also in the SaaS security market.

"Given they had limited resources to expand and our far greater size, it was a great combination," Watkins said of the acquisition. "Strategically we look forward to the competition."

Webroot said it plans to retain Email Systems employees and eventually merge the organizations to target the small and midsized business market with a combined suite. It would also continue to support all existing customers of Email Systems.

"Email Systems offers an unrivalled SaaS technology that represents a tipping point in enterprise security. We now have the opportunity to offer it on a much bigger scale," Mike Irwin, Webroot's chief operating officer said in a statement. "The new organization will incorporate the management, sales, marketing and technical teams of our two companies to create a true global partnership."

The market for software to guard against phishing, spyware, and other malware has been under increased consolidation. Security vendor Websense announced its acquisition of UK-based SurfControl in April. Last year, Websense also acquired PortAuthority Technologies Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. for $90 million.

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