Cisco Buy Blurs Networking and Security Lines

In a move further underlining the convergence of networking and security,
Cisco said it will buy Perfigo for $74 million in cash.

Perfigo’s network admission control products are designed to keep worms and
viruses from wriggling into networks and wreaking havoc.

Its CleanMachines offering recognizes users and their devices and roles;
evaluates the security posture of the endpoint and scans for
vulnerabilities; and enforces policy in the network.

The San Francisco firm, which is privately held and venture-backed by
Greylock, counts small and medium business, as well as colleges and
universities, among its customers.

Elizabeth McNichols, a Cisco spokeswoman, said Perfigo is the company’s
third security acquisition in the past year.

The purchase is expected to close during the second quarter of Cisco’s
fiscal year 2005, which ends Jan. 29. Perfigo’s 31 employees will become
part of Palmer’s security group, McNichols said.

In the interim, Cisco has licensed Perfigo’s CleanMachines and will
make it available to customers this month.

For Cisco, it’s the latest buy aimed at strengthening network security,
something customers of all sizes have identified as a priority. Last year,
it paid $154 million in stock for intrusion detection software maker Okena.

Okena’s technology helps identify security risks by analyzing operating
systems, file systems, configuration and network requests.

Cisco’s closest competitor, Juniper Networks , has not
stood pat. It’s biggest move was to acquire security and access technology
specialist NetScreen for $4 billion in stock.

In other efforts on the security front, Cisco and Microsoft announced this week that
they would integrate technologies and push for an industry standard to
power network security and health policy compliance.

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