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January 25, 2007

Sophos: extending reach with Endforce buy

Sophos has become something of a mainstay of the IT security industry and, with its longstanding focus on strong anti-virus solutions, it is positioned as a cornerstone of the threat management world. Therefore, when such a self-contained player in the business acquires another security firm, and one that operates outside its normal sphere of interest, it is worth taking a closer look.

By CBR Staff Writer

Sophos has acquired access control and endpoint security company Endforce.

Sophos recently announced to the industry that it had acquired Endforce, an established player in the network access control (NAC) and endpoint security marketplace. This announcement followed on from last year’s expansion of operations into the application control and host intrusion prevention arena, which was clearly done to extend the scope of the company’s overall endpoint protection offerings.

In addition, Sophos also recently launched an all-in-one, appliance-based, web content and URL filtering security appliance. At the time, all of these were seen as natural extensions to the company’s core protection portfolio.

For certain, this new acquisition will enable Sophos to extend the range of its protection services, and will no doubt provide profitable cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. However, more importantly, the acquisition will move the company up a level.

Sophos has gained an established and deserved position as a leading light in the anti-virus (AV) security sector. However, after initial integration of the new acquisition’s technology, Sophos is expected to re-emerge and move on to become a genuine enterprise security company that can, in its own right, compete in a marketplace that urgently needs more security solution providers that are capable of delivering a unified range of protection services.

In this context, Sophos certainly believes that the addition of the Endforce NAC and endpoint security technology will further expand the company’s overall security proposition to one of a total security and control provider, and allow it to achieve a position where it can protect both corporate networks and at the same time exercise control over which users and devices are allowed to gain access, and to what systems.

For perhaps far too long Sophos has been pigeonholed as a straightforward provider of AV products. This was never quite the case, and its top-class solutions were respected by both the end-user community and fellow security professionals. With the acquisition of Endforce, Sophos now has the product portfolio to step up its operations and compete at a higher level.

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