Microsoft Secures Mobile Access With Whale Buy


Microsoft has agreed to buy security appliance specialist Whale
Communications Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.


Microsoft said Whale’s Intelligent Application Gateway and Application
Optimizers provide Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private networks (VPN)
and application firewalls that offer enterprises tight control over who they
provide remote access to.


Whale’s Windows-based gateways and software will work in concert with
Windows Server and ISA Server, providing mobile workers with access to
corporate networks from PCs, laptops, Web kiosks and handheld computers.


The software uses SSL , which secure online activities by
verifying the identities of computer users, to dictate what information or
Web sites employees can access while on the road.


Steve Brown, director of product management for the security access and
solutions division at Microsoft, said the buy is geared to strike a balance
between helping customers protect their data and infrastructure while
allowing mobile workers access to the network.


“Having the world’s most secure network and application is no good if you
can’t give users the access they need to the information,” Brown said.


“[Customers] are worried about network security, a new generation of
security threats at the application layer, and they have to worry about
regulatory compliance and corporate policy,” Brown said.


Acquiring SSL-VPN and firewall technology fills a gap in Microsoft’s growing
security software portfolio.


The deal also thrusts them into competition with SSL-VPN vendors Cisco
Systems, Positive Networks, SonicWall, Juniper Networks and Aventail.


Microsoft has been on a regular acquisition spree since announcing its
intent to enter the security market and take on Symantec and others a few
years ago.


In a span of two years, the company acquired the DynaComm i:filter Web
filtering product from FutureSoft, anti-virus specialist Sybari Software, anti-spyware vendor Giant Software, e-mail security concern FrontBridge and smart-card maker Alacris.


Whale Communications is headquartered in Fort Lee, N.J., and will maintain
all current operations until the transaction closes in a few months.


The market for SSL products is heating up.


Microsoft’s bid for Whale comes a day after SSL market leader VeriSign
agreed to buy SSL
certificate specialist GeoTrust.

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