ISS Targets Bundled Security with Cobion Buy

Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems on Wednesday announced a move into the content management security space, shelling out $34 million to acquire anti-spam specialist Cobion AG.

The transaction, which adds anti-spam technology to ISS’ Proventia
product suite, signals a further move by anti-virus security firms to bundle spam-fighting tools into all-in-one products for enterprise clients.

The ISS acquisition comes on the heels of a identical move by Lynnfield, Mass.-based Sophos, an ISS competitor.

For ISS, which markets with tools for network security monitoring and intrusion detection, the acquisition adds a crucial segment to its enterprise-focused offerings. Instead of using multiple products for network security and battling the spam nightmare, IT departments are turning more and more to a single vendor with an integrated offering.

ISS has already rolled out a multi-purpose security appliance and, with the Cobion acquisition, the company said it would now provide content security either as a stand-alone product or via the Proventia all-in-one appliance.

Cobion, which maintains U.S. headquarters in Burlington, Mass., is known for its content analysis technology which incorporates spam and Web content filtering databases (20 million Web sites categorized) and a research infrastructure that includes 1,000-central processing units (CPUs) and 12 database distribution points around the world.

Research firm IDC estimates the market for content security will exceed $1.5 billion in 2006, one of the fastest growing sector of the IT security market. With spam fighting in the enterprise sucking up valuable IT resources, ISS is hoping its all-in-one appliance will find a niche in that
lucrative market.

ISS chief executive Tom Noonan was enthusiastic about the deal. “ISS is now in the content security market with a product that automatically blocks Web content and spam like no other product available today,” Noonan raved in a statement.

He said Cobion’s content security features would me married with ISS’ Proventia M appliances in the second quarter of 2004, integrating content
filtering and anti-spam capabilities with firewall, anti-virus, intrusion prevention and Virtual Private Networking features.

The company plans to release Proventia C, a content security appliance, in the second quarter this year.

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