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Sophos bids on Utimaco to strengthen endpoint security

The rules of security are changing, and with its bid to buy Utimaco, Sophos is just one company looking to round out its offerings.

Endpoint security isn't endpoint security anymore.

The old standards of antivirus, anti-spyware, and a firewall are no longer enough. In today's market, you need more types of protection like data loss prevention (DLP), full-disk encryption, or endpoint operations. The big guys like McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro aren't settling for one safeguard or another. They will likely have the whole enchilada in their endpoint security suites soon.

With this trend in mind, U.K.-based Sophos decided to jump into the new endpoint security game with both feet. The company announced that it is offering $340 million to acquire Utimaco Safeware, a leader in endpoint encryption and DLP. Yes, that's a lot of dough, but Utimaco is a leader in these burgeoning markets. The combination of Sophos and Utimaco can:

1. Leverage both installed bases. Sophos can up-sell Utimaco into its broad base while Utimaco customers will get an integrated endpoint suite down the line.

2. Bolster North American sales. Sophos has been keen on entering North America in a big way. It can now jump-start this effort by tapping into Utimaco customers and channel partners.

3. Compete on the new vision. As endpoint security morphs into a more holistic endpoint protection/operations category, Sophos/Utimaco could vault to a new leadership position.

Acquisitions are always risky but some become necessary as markets change. This one certainly appears to fit into this model.

Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.