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McAfee snaps up data loss prevention firm

Playing leapfrog with Reconnex

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McAfee has agreed to pay $46m to buy data loss prevention firm Reconnex. The deal, announced Thursday and expected to close in the third quarter of 2008, follows a string of acquisitions in the data loss prevention (DLP) arena.

Last year Symantec purchased Vontu for $350m, Trend Micro picked up Provilla and EMC took on Tablus. Last month Sophos launched a $342m bid to buy DLP firm Utimaco.

Far from playing catch-up in the market, McAfee argues that buying Reconnex will allow it to steal a march on the opposition. Reconnex's gateway-based technology would sit alongside McAfee's existing host-based data protection kit in an expanded product portfolio.

"Data protection is the number one concern of chief information security officers, but today’s DLP solutions take too long to deploy and obtain results," said Dave DeWalt, chief executive officer and president of McAfee. "With the pending acquisition of Reconnex, McAfee expects to redefine the entire data protection market by bringing together a leader in the hottest segment with our comprehensive portfolio of data protection technologies. We expect that this will enable us to leapfrog other data protection vendors and to reinforce our position as the largest dedicated security company."

DLP technology protects against the deliberate or inadvertent release of sensitive information, typically using either a combination of encryption and policy management or content inspection tools. High-profile customer data breaches have helped focus attention on the area. This interest has been accompanied by a market shift as DLP startups have been bought up by more established firms. Analyst group IDC predicts that the information protection and control (IPC) market will grow from $765m in 2006 to $3.2bn in 2011, a compound annual growth rate of 33 per cent.

On the financial front, McAfee raised its profits forecast on Thursday after exceeding its Q2 sales targets ($397m actual against $369m predicted). McAfee now expects to ring up sales of between $1.54bn to $1.59bn this year compared to earlier forecasts that its income would come in at between $1.44bn to $1.54bn, Reuters reports.

Rounding out a good day for McAfee the firm announced a deal to bundle versions of its security software on selected HP commercial desktop PCs and notebooks and consumer laptops from Toshiba. ®

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