Just two days after Secure Computing announced plans to buy CipherTrust for $273 million, the CEOs of the two companies were talking pizza. No, not the kind with cheese and anchovies. Instead, John McNulty, the CEO of Secure Computing, and Jay Chaudhry, the CEO of CipherTrust, were buzzing about the pie-chart “pizzas” flying across a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate the “synergies” between the two companies. There was a network gateway pizza with triangular pieces for CipherTrust’s Connection Control traffic shaping and Secure’s IPS, VPN, firewall, and AV. Then there was an applications security “pizza” with pieces representing Secure’s spyware and Web filtering technology with CipherTrust’s compliance tools.
InfoWorld Senior Editor Paul F. Roberts sat down with Mssrs. McNulty and Chaudhry, who will become Secure Computing’s new chief strategy officer, to talk about their vision for the new company and how to compete in a crowded security market.
InfoWorld: What’s the big picture on this acquisition? Why are Secure Computing and CipherTrust coming together?
John McNulty: The big vision is pretty straightforward. We believe there’s an opportunity to create a company singularly focused on the gateway security space. Our companies fit together hand and glove, which is the reason for the excitement we have today. There’s little overlap, and they address the core of what the problems are in enterprise security.
IW: What are those problems?
Jay Chaudhry: There are 800 different security players. The market is very fragmented. About 90 percent of those companies are under $15 million in revenues. So you have lots of point products and tons of appliances. It’s overload. Everyone is trying to sell appliances.
IW: We recently heard Symantec say that it is scaling back its investment in security appliances. Is that good news or bad news for Secure Computing?
JC: It’s very good for us. IDC says that 80 percent of security solutions are sold as appliances. It’s one of the fastest growing segments.
JM: The way we look at the marketplace data, on the client side you’ve got Symantec, McAfee, and Trend. Then at the Internet level you’ve got the router and switch makers like Cisco and Juniper. But there’s a void in between. There’s no player with all the pieces. I think [Secure Computing] with CipherTrust has all the pieces.
IW: Are you saying companies such as Symantec, McAfee, and Trend aren’t serious about enterprise security?
JM: I think they’re serious about the desktop. Look, I’m an Intel graduate. At Intel we used to call the microprocessor the “creosote bush,” because it kills everything around it in the desert. For Symantec, anti-virus is the creosote bush. [Symantec] has spent an awful lot of money to not be successful in the enterprise at the server level.
IW: Who is your biggest competition?
JM: Secure Computing’s competition today is by segment. In identity and access management, it’s RSA. In the authentication space, it’s Vasco. In Web filtering, it’s Websense and Surfcontrol. In the UTM space, [it’s] CheckPoint, Juniper, Cisco, Fortinet, and Symantec.
IW: OK, so what differentiates Secure Computing/CipherTrust?
JC: What sets us apart is integration. There are a lot of point solutions. TrustedSource [CipherTrust’s e-mail reputation system] can give a dynamic, real-time score out there for all sender domains. It worked well to stop spammers and phishers and zombies. The same technology is being integrated in all areas. For example, we can add some kind of application that can do dynamic scoring of Web filters and integrate TrustedSource into the UTM/Firewall/VPNs that Secure has. With TrustedSource, and connections to the firewall, you can actually deny connections to senders at the firewall area. We have plans to integrate TrustedSource and VoIP. You’ll be able to identify and stop guys before they reach your phone.