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Trend Micro to acquire Third Brigade for virtualization, cloud security

Robert Westervelt, News Editor

Trend Micro Inc. is acquiring host intrusion detection/prevention and application security vendor Third Brigade Inc. in a deal to add virtualization and cloud computing security to its product portfolio.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the summer.

When the deal is finalized, Trend Micro will have Third Brigade's line of appliances that provide traditional signature-based antivirus and antispyware protection, host firewall technology and behavior analysis for physical and virtual servers. Third Brigade also was the first vendor to announce support for VMware's VMsafe program with the release of its Deep Security Virtual Appliance at the 2009 RSA Conference.

Tokyo-based Trend Micro competes against Symantec Corp., McAfee Inc. , Sophos Plc, Kaspersky Lab and others. In addition to endpoint mail server and gateway software, Trend Micro sells appliances and managed services for Web filtering, antivirus, spam and spyware protection.

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Trend is getting a jumpstart on its competition through the acquisition, but it won't take long for other antimalware vendors to catch up, said Jon Oltsik, principal analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. Oltsik called the acquisition a growing movement in the industry as other vendors create new hybrid models that build upon endpoint security with additional network intelligence.

"They were one of the first companies to recognize the benefits of the cloud based model in terms of implementation and the fullness of their offering," Oltsik said. "I think Trend is going to combine this with their install base, their technology and the cloud to create this ecosystem of products and services … this one fits into that ecosystem quite well."

Like Trend Micro many antimalware vendors will be announcing plans to support VMsafe, but many of them that have been endpoint and appliance-based haven't been at the servers themselves, Oltsik said. Trend's acquisition gives it access to Third Brigade's distribution channel and partnerships, but it will have to monitor the virtualization market closely and adjust its offerings with professional services and reference architectures to remain viable in the space, he said.

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Third Brigade is among a number of companies, including VMware's Blue Lane Technologies, Catbird Networks Inc. and Altor Networks Inc. that offer protection for virtualized environments.

Third Brigade currently provides firewall and host-intrusion prevention for individual VMs on the Guest OS network stack. This implementation is the same as its offering for physical servers. Third Brigade is looking to leverage VMware's VMsafe architecture to mix with its current implementation to optimize control over a VM, depending primarily on its anticipated portability.

"Third Brigade has leading-edge security and compliance solutions that allow Global 2000, SMBs and government organizations to better address the needs of their next-generation datacenters, and corporate endpoints," Eva Chen, CEO at Trend Micro, said in a statement. "These align with Trend Micro's mission of delivering the most flexible and customizable Internet security solutions to address the ever-changing threats on the Web."

In January Trend announced a close partnership with BigFix, providing it with a management platform for its in-the-cloud Web Protection Module. The move helped bolster its competition against McAfee and Symantec which offer platforms for managing security products.


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