Cisco buys ‘behaviour blocker’ Okena for $154m

24 January 2003 Networking hardware giant Cisco Systems today moved to enhance its network security portfolio by acquiring privately-held Okena for $154 million (€143.9m) in stock.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Okena, founded in 1999, has developed what it claims is an innovative network security product that seeks to anticipate threats instead of merely responding to attacks.

Its software interrogates operating systems, file systems, configuration, registry and network requests, and checks for evidence of unusual or malicious behaviour – a technique known as ‘behaviour blocking’ or ‘intrusion prevention’.

It seeks to protect both desktop and servers, also known as ‘endpoints’. The endpoint security market is estimated by analysts at IDC to be worth more than EU1 billion in 2003.

The technology also protects against many viruses and worms and is complementary to conventional desktop anti-virus products, Cisco said.

Cisco will integrate Okena’s technology into its existing network security products. Adding Okena will also enhance security within Cisco’s server-based IP products and network management applications, the company said.

“This acquisition reinforces Cisco’s commitment to leadership in the network security market and is part of a significant initiative to more tightly integrate network and endpoint security,” said Richard Palmer, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s virtual private network (VPN) and security business unit.

The deal is expected to be closed by the end of April and has been approved by the boards of both companies.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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