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M86 buys Web security gateway vendor Finjan

The company plans to develop its U.S. channel, but faces market and integration challenges, according to an industry analyst.

Email and Web security vendor M86 Security Inc. has acquired Web security gateway product vendor Finjan Inc., which recently began offering Web Software as a Service (SaaS).

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The acquisition comes just under a year after Orange, Calif.-based M86 was created by the merger of U.K.-based Marshal, which focused on email security, and U.S.-based URL filtering appliance vendor e86 Technologies. In March, M86 bought email security vendor Avinti Inc. for its behavioral malware detection technology.

San Jose, Calif.-based Finjan is highly regarded for its behavior-based malware detection technology, said Lawrence Orans, research director for Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner, but less so for its reporting capabilities, which M86 should help address. 

Recent security industry acquisitions:

Cisco acquires SaaS security vendor ScanSafe: Move complements Cisco line of IronPort appliances by offering customers Web security gateway services in the cloud.

Barracuda acquires Purewire expanding Web security reach: The acquisition broadens Barracuda's delivery model for URL filtering and securing Web applications through software as a service (SaaS) and hybrid approaches.

"The main driver for the deal was the Finjan technology's ability to look for zero-day attacks," he said. "We hear really good things from clients who have adopted it, but reporting was an issue."

M86 hopes to develop a strong U.S. channel for the Finjan Vital Security appliances, which will be rebranded, said William Kilmer, chief marketing officer at M86 Security. Finjan only does direct sales in the U.S.

"A major move for us is being able to make this a channel-friendly product and give it out through existing and new channel partners," Kilmer said.

That could be a challenge, said Orans, because M86's U.S. channel is primarily focused on selling Marshal's email security to midmarket companies, while Finjan has focused on enterprises with the expertise to tune sophisticated behavior-based technology. e86's primary target market was elementary and secondary schools.

"The channel for Marshal can sell email security solution into SMBs," he said, "but those channel partners are in a different market than the traditional Finjan customer. This is the third Web security gateway company acquisition in the last three weeks. Barracuda Networks Inc. bought Purewire Inc. early last month, and Cisco Systems Inc. acquired SaaS security vendor ScanSafe last week. Other competitors include McAfee Inc., Symantec Inc., Zscaler Inc., Websense Inc., Blue Coat Inc., Trend Micro Inc., Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd., Sophos Plc., Webroot Software Inc., FaceTime Communications Inc. and Anchiva Systems Ltd. 

Most of Finjan's management team will not be joining M86, Kilmer said. However, former Finjan CEO John Vigouroux joined M86 as CEO in April, and M86 vice president of product management Werner Thalmeier recently left the same position at Finjan. M86 will keep Finjan's sales and research and development teams and incorporate its Malicious Code Research Center.

Bringing all these technologies and corporate cultures together won't be easy, Orans said.

"M86 will have their work cut out for them, because, in a small period of time, they've brought together four companies," he said. "For any organization, there are technical product integration issues and political issues. It's a lot for any organization, especially for a relatively small company."

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