Cisco Systems will begin offering IronPort's security filtering tools to its firewall customers after the networking giant's acquisition of the company closes on June 25.
On tour to evangelize the benefits of the buyout to media, analysts and customers, top Cisco security executives and IronPort Chief Executive Scott Weiss said that the combined company will move quickly to create a software upgrade package that will provide content filtering functionality and behavioral reputation intelligence into the networking market leader's 2.5 million existing firewall systems.
Once the deal closes on Monday, Weiss will assume a role as a senior security marketing executive with Cisco, he said.
The for-pay security add-on derived from IronPort, which has maintained a San Bruno, Calif. headquarters, will allow customers to employ what the company has dubbed as "wide traffic inspection" at the firewall, arming users with more comprehensive network traffic analysis tools, the executives said.
The content filtering package represents only the first of many opportunities borne of San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco's $830 million buyout of the firm, said Weiss and Mick Scully, vice president of product management at Cisco's Security Technology Group.
"The e-mail and Web filtering capabilities we bring into Cisco's self defending network vision will allow customers to do more granular filtering of traffic traveling across ports that have traditionally been left open by firewalls," Weiss said. "Today, most threats are coming into the network as links embedded in e-mail messages; putting this type of intelligence at the firewall will increase its efficacy in stopping those attacks."
Through blending the malware-distribution data gathered by IronPort's SenderBase IP address reputation service into Cisco's Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls, the devices will become more dynamic security filtering gateways that can detect a far greater number of potential attacks before they enter the network, the companies claim.
"As Cisco takes what it has been doing at the network layer and adds content awareness, customers will be provided with a whole new set of traffic monitoring abilities," said Scully. "This is a new business model for us, but we believe we can take advantage of the fact that content filtering has traditionally been a highly-fragmented market."
Scully estimates that the firewall market currently represents a roughly $5 billion annual sales opportunity. By integrating content filtering, which Cisco projects as a $2 billion per-year market that is growing at 30 percent per year, the executive said that the massive networking and security firm expects its products to serve a $10 billion per-annum segment sometime around 2011.
For its part, Weiss said that IronPort is expecting to report growth of 70 percent for its current fiscal year, pushing its revenues over $200 million.
After moving to integrate the filtering specialists' tools into its firewall business, Scully said that Cisco would begin adding IronPort's technologies into its Integrated Services Router (ISR) products.
"We'll be integrating IronPort's content and e-mail filtering technologies into our switching and routing products over the next several years," said the colorful Cisco security executive. "This is a strategy that reaches beyond the current wave of Web 2.0 technologies and services oriented architecture technologies into the next decade and beyond as customers demand more integrated security features."