BT Buys Counterpane to Shore Up Customer Data

The slew of security software and services companies being purchased continued today, with
telecommunications provider BT  snapping up Counterpane
Internet Security for an undisclosed sum.

Counterpane, founded by current CTO Bruce Schneier,
provides managed networked security services for companies in retail,
financial services and other markets to protect their corporate data from
prying eyes.

Many customers buy security software that they install on their computers
and other datacenter devices.

Counterpane offers a more hands-on approach, using a trained security staff
to try to detect and quash cyber-threats before they cause major problems
for companies.

Counterpane services include vulnerability scanning, e-mail and Web
scanning, device management, distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) prevention
and consulting.

Though do-it-yourself attitudes are lauded in certain circles when it comes
to software, security is quickly becoming an area where many companies admit
they need help.

This is because security threats are becoming so sophisticated — think
botnets that throttle multiple computers on a network. Accordingly, more
companies are outsourcing the management of their security infrastructure to
security service experts like Counterpane.

This approach meshes with BT’s strategy to expand and develop its global
professional services capabilities, adding a critical data-protection aspect
to its offerings.

It also matches recent moves by IBM  and EMC  this year: Big Blue bought
Internet Security Systems and EMC pocketed
RSA Security.

Both offer managed security services.

Gartner analyst John Pescatore said BT probably had enough customers who
requested managed security for devices, forcing BT to make a move after
partnering with ISS, Symantec and others for years.

“This is them buying and saying ‘okay, we’re going to keep this revenue and
do it ourselves,” Pescatore said.

Pescatore said Counterpane had been a “bride’s maid” a couple times, almost
getting acquired but getting passed over for someone else. Symantec bought
Riptech in 2002; VeriSign picked up Guardent in 2003.

“They either needed more funding or to get bought,” Pescatore said.

He also said he expects more large overseas telcos and other businesses
purchase U.S.-based security vendors for the comfort factor of not having to
outsource security services.

Though not a publicly traded company, Mountain View, Calif.’s, Counterpane
is well known and currently monitors 550 networks worldwide.

After the purchase closes, Paul Stich will remain Counterpane’s CEO and
Schneier will continue in his role as CTO.

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