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Check Point expands niche

Hoping to expand beyond the security market, Check Point says it will buy IP addressing technology specialist MetaInfo.

Hoping to get an edge on its competitors and expand its influence beyond the security market, Check Point (CHKPF) today said it will buy IP addressing technology specialist MetaInfo in a $28 million all-stock deal.

Check Point, a leading network security firm that is pushing into network management, will sell MetaInfo's IP address management software both as a standalone product and integrated into Check Point's network management products.

"People have been putting us in the same box with some of the other classic security players," Check Point spokeswoman Emily Cohen said. "While security is still a major portion of our business, we are looking beyond that to a broader vision of what customers need to manage their networks."

Check Point said the acquisition boosts its offerings in policy-based network management.

MetaInfo's software connects IP addresses to specific users, which is particularly important for telecommuters and remote and mobile users of corporate networks. Under Internet protocols, users are generally identified by IP address, not user name. Since IP addresses are often allocated dynamically, address translation lets a user see data on a network that the user is authorized to see under a corporate security policy.

MetaInfo's software also helps those overseeing the network to manage network devices more easily. They manage the physical infrastructure used by network services, such as Check Point's enterprise security, traffic control, and directory services software.

"Enterprise customers have a problem already managing different machines and users logging in from different locations," Cohen said. "Networks are becoming more fluid." MetaInfo has sold about 15,000 copies of its software in two years and will continue to market the product through its channels. Check Point will sell MetaInfo's offerings through its channels too.

IP address management is particularly useful for virtual private networks (VPNs), and Check Point intends to integrate MetaInfo's technology into both its line of security software, which includes FireWall-1 and Check Point's VPN offerings, and its line of traffic management products, including FloodGate-1, its bandwidth management offering.

Check Point's stock traded at 41-1/4 this morning, up nearly a point since yesterday.

Observers of the Internet security industry have waited for Check Point, the market share leader for firewall software, to jump into the acquisitions frenzy sweeping the security market. But as NEWS.COM reported last month, the company signaled that it was shopping for a networking acquisition, not something in the Internet security field.

Check Point's strategy has been to partner with security companies to manage their software through Check Point's security console, then add new network management functions to the console. Check Point said in February that its bandwidth and security management products will be merged by the end of this year.