Cisco to buy Protego for $65m

Networking equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems has added to its growing portfolio of security products by agreeing to buy...

Networking equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems has added to its growing portfolio of security products by agreeing to buy Protego Networks for $65m (£33.6m).

Protego makes hardware and software that can spot and respond to threats on computer networks.

Cisco plans to use Protego's technology to boost its self-defending networking initiative, a programme that uses Cisco technology to help administrators spot, isolate and fix network security problems, including viruses and worms, said Cisco.

Protego makes rack-mounted security appliances that allow companies to manage information related to network attacks and security policies.

The company's PN-Mars family of appliances can collect and correlate logged data and configuration information from a range of security products and network devices, including switches, routers and firewalls.

Visualisation features allow network administrators to identify security hot spots or vulnerabilities on their networks. Using mitigation features in the products, administrators can respond manually or automatically respond to threats by pushing out configuration changes or commands to specific devices that thwart attacks.

A component called PN-Mars Global Controller, released in October, allows companies to manage multiple Protego appliances on a network, giving administrators a central control and management point.

Protego's 38 employees will become a part of Cisco's Security Technology Group. Cisco will use the technology to provide customers with multi-layered and integrated security, said Richard Palmer, vice-president of the Security Technology Group.

Cisco made the self-defending networking initiative a priority, striking deals with systems management suppliers such as IBM, that will make it easier for customers to use Cisco products, in conjunction with other products, to spot and thwart security threats.

In November, IBM and Cisco unveiled product updates that will tie Cisco's networking equipment to IBM's Tivoli software, enabling those products to work together to scan devices that are attempting to connect to a network to ensure compliance with network security policies.

The announcement was part of Cisco's Network Admission Control programme to link security software and network infrastructure devices in an effort to better protect networks from security threats.

The acquisition of Protego is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2005, which ends on 29 January 2005, Cisco said.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service

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