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December 20, 2006

Websense in $90m IP leakage security bid for PortAuthority

Web filtering software vendor Websense Inc is to pay $90m in cash for Port Authority Technologies Inc and its PreciseID fingerprinting software and content identification and classification appliances, to fuel a proposed move into the emerging information leakage and prevention market.

By CBR Staff Writer

Such leakage-prevention systems help organizations prevent the unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential data or intellectual property, while simultaneously protecting enterprise networks and data from external malicious threats.

Websense sees many of the issues of detecting and preventing information leakage as being similar in nature to those it handles in controlling access to URLs with web filtering software of the sort it already produces. Both processes are often roles-based and can call for real-time data synchronization with Active Directory or LDAP systems.

The company now has plans to deliver new Deep Content Control technology to control the unwanted dissemination of sensitive and confidential information.

The two companies have been working closely together during 2006, and chief executive Gene Hodges told Computer Business Review earlier this month that there is a plan by the second quarter of 2007 to have integrated the content fingerprinting technology with existing Websense policy management infrastructure software to produce classification and enforcement technology that would provide automated data protection.

It is a part of a strategy to develop the company into a more diversified business next year, with a new product for web threat analysis as well as one for information leakage detection and prevention systems.

The San Diego, California-based supplier will also release a new line in content gateways in 2007, with a system which will incorporate attack-avoidance technology which uses web crawlers to build a map of web-based applications and executables to identify the location and state of existing and new malware threats.

PortAuthority of Palo Alto, California and Ra’anana, Israel makes a range of appliances including the Enterprise Manager MX, which handles networks with as many as 10,000 users, as well as the P-500 Protector appliance, which sits on the network edge. The boxes can be configured to check for and protect against leakage of sensitive documents emailed using Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, printed or copied to a USB drive, or sent using Webmail, FTP, or instant messaging.

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PortAuthority was funded by a string of venture capital firms including Greylock Partners, Lexington Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and Sequoia Capital.

The acquisition of PortAuthority should add slightly to Websense earnings in 2008, but is expected to reduce 2007 adjusted earnings by up to 15 cents a share.

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