Cisco has announced that it will be acquiring SAAS security company Scansafe in a deal expected to top $183 million and which will give the networking giant a foothold in the growing web-based security segment.
Scansafe is a well known software-as-a-service company that provides solution to small businesses and corporate clients alike. The company claims that it holds over 30 percent of the global SaaS web security market more than the combined marketshare of the likes of Websense, Blue Coat and Symantec.
The fact that the SaaS web security sector is set to grow at nearly 50 percent per annum for the next five years to reach $513 million by 2013 could well be the reason why Cisco has decided to invest now, in the midst of the worst recession in several decades. Other less conservative estimates put the total value of web security market at $2.3 billion by 2012.
Brian Burke, Program Director for IDC's security program which compiled the report, said that "Web 2.0 environments have become a major source of malware distribution, identity fraud, privacy violations and corporate data loss. ScanSafe helps organizations leverage the value of Web 2.0 tools responsibly without sacrificing security and regulatory compliance requirements."
Scansafe is Cisco's second acquisition in the field of web security; back in 2007, it snapped email and web security software Ironport.
The concept of SaaS is attractive both to the client and the service provider for a number of reasons. Firstly, there's no licenses per se, only seats and it is therefore easier for the service provider to keep a tab on the active number of accounts. Then there's the fact that upgrades and updates can be rolled out seamlessly without the need of any system administrators at the other hand. This reduces the risk of zero-day security attacks for example.