Update: Verizon Business to acquire Cybertrust

Verizon Business aims to become a leading provider of managed information security services

Verizon Communications Inc.'s Business unit plans to acquire managed security vendor Cybertrust in an effort to pump up its cybersecurity offerings, Verizon announced Monday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies expect the transaction to close in 60 to 90 days, Verizon Business said in a press release.

The goal of the acquisition is to make Verizon Business a leading provider of managed information security services to large business and government customers, Verizon said.

The acquisition is important because Verizon and other telecom providers have lagged behind rival AT&T Inc. in security offerings, said Ovum Ltd. analyst Jan Dawson.

"Although all the major providers have actively pursued the security opportunity, none has been able to tell as convincing a story, especially around network-based security, as AT&T," Dawson said in an e-mail. "This acquisition should catapult Verizon Business into a much stronger position on security."

Cybertrust is a cybersecurity firm with 800 employees and operations in 30 locations worldwide. Its services include identity management, managed security services, vulnerability and threat management, security certification programs and a range of professional services, such as risk analysis, forensics and incident response services.

The acquisition gives Verizon Business' security unit more of a global presence, as well as new expertise in identity management and computer forensics, said Nancy Gofus, Verizon Business' senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Verizon Business had "no expertise" in those areas, and customers were asking for those products, she said during a press conference.

"This acquisition really completes the portfolio and gives us a much broader global reach," she said.

The acquisition shows Verizon Business' commitment to "providing world-class security solutions," John Killian, president of Verizon Business, said in a statement.

This deal is part of a trend of cybersecurity vendors getting swallowed up by larger companies. The Verizon announcement follows the acquisition of Counterpane Internet Security Inc. by U.K. telecommunications carrier BT Group PLC in October. In June, storage vendor EMC Corp. announced its acquisition of RSA Security Inc.

Verizon Business will also acquire ICSA Labs, an independent division of Cybertrust. ICSA Labs provides security product certification services and has tested and certified 95 percent of the installed security products on the market today, according to Cybertrust.

Cybertrust's identity management unit gives Verizon Business new capabilities to help its customers manage user identities across multiple systems and applications, Verizon said. Verizon Business will offer a range of products for governments and large businesses to manage electronic identities, the company said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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