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Cisco Continues Acquisition Spree With Cognitive Deal

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Cisco continues its acquisition spree with the purchase of Cognitive Security to enhance its network security credentials

Cisco Systems has announced it is to buy Cognitive Security, a privately-held network security vendor based in the Czech Republic.

Cisco executives announced the deal 29 January, noting that Cognitive is working on sophisticated technologies designed to address the growing threats to IT infrastructures that are coming in the wake of such trends as cloud and mobile computing.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Behavioural Analytics

Cisco officials will look to integrate their cloud-based global threat intelligence with Cognitive’s real-time behavioural analytics to develop a “common policy engine that controls distributed network enforcement in an intelligent network and mitigates advanced cyber threats,” Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of corporate business development, said in a 29 January post on the Cisco blog.

Traditional security technologies are not able to keep up with the changing landscape brought on by cloud computing and mobility, Romanski said, noting that threats that are coming onto the scene now are more complex and targeted than what has been seen in the past.

Cisco Sign 2“Mobility and cloud are drastically changing the IT security landscape, where traditional security approaches aren’t enough to protect customers against an evolving threat landscape,” he wrote. “Cognitive Security’s technology identifies and detects security anomalies, and when coupled with the network for mitigation, allows Cisco to uniquely address our customers’ security requirements.”

Cognitive leverages artificial intelligence to detect upcoming threats, and its solution uses a variety of software to identify and analyze such threats, according to Cisco.

According to Romanski, Cisco’s goal is to create a tightly integrated, always-on security environment that businesses can leverage for their cloud and mobile computing needs. Cognitive, which has collaborated with the Czech Technical University in a joint program around network security, will be folded into Cisco’s Security Technology Group, which is overseen by Senior Vice President Chris Young.

The deal is expected to close in the current fiscal quarter.

Acquisition Spree

The deal for Cognitive is only the latest is a rapidly growing number of acquisitions of mostly off-shore companies that Cisco is using to build up not only its networking capabilities, but also its offerings in such areas a cloud, virtualisation and video.

Most recently, Cisco on 23 January announced it was spending $475 million (£301m) to buy Intucell, an Israeli software company focused on mobile networking. Also this month, Cisco took a 1 percent stake in Parallels, which offers virtualisation and cloud services whose desktop virtualization solutions enables businesses to run Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems and software on a single machine at the same time.

The Cognitive and Intucell deals follow a growing list of deals that last year includes everything from video software vendor NDS Group, networking solutions vendor Meraki, Broadhop, which offer policy control and service management technology, and Cloupia for automated management software.

At the same time that Cisco is rapidly adding to its growing portfolio, the company also continues to shed businesses that no longer fit into its long-range strategy. Most recently, Cisco on 25 January announced it was selling its Linksys home networking business to Belkin, the latest move in its efforts to exit the consumer technology space. Over the past couple of years, Cisco also has shuttered its Flip video camera and Umi home telepresence businesses.

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Originally published on eWeek.