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Symantec snaps up SafeWeb

The security company acquires the maker of secure network devices for $26 million, as the tide of consolidation continues to sweep through the industry.

Security company Symantec has acquired SafeWeb, a maker of secure network devices, for $26 million in cash--as the tide of consolidation continues to sweep through the security industry.

The purchase, announced on Monday, gives Symantec its own products to sell in the growing market for virtual private networks (VPNs) that don't require users to have pre-installed client software on the desktop. The technology, based on the secure sockets layer (SSL) standard widely used to protect data passing through the Internet, allows employees and customers to access company networks securely using only a browser.

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"By integrating SafeWeb's clientless VPN technology...we can offer the most comprehensive protection without the need to deploy additional hardware at the gateway or software at the desktop," Gail Hamilton, executive vice president at Symantec, said in a statement.

The purchase mirrors a similar move by Netscreen Technologies two weeks ago, when it purchased Neoteris, a leading provider of SSL-based secure network devices, for $265 million.

Symantec bought four companies last year: intrusion detection software maker Recourse Technologies, managed security provider RipTech, security information service SecurityFocus, and security management software maker Mountain Wave. Rival security company Network Associates has bought security software providers Entercept Security Technologies and IntruVert Networks as well as antispam company Deersoft.

Symantec plans to use SafeWeb's SEA Tsunami VPN appliance, which allows companies to selectively grant secure remote access to a broad host of applications such as e-mail, file servers and printers. Such products make it easier to launch VPNs, because administrators don't have to install special software on remote users' computers.