UPDATED 14:43 EDT / DECEMBER 12 2019


Fortinet scoops up security orchestration startup CyberSponse

Less than two months after wrapping up its previous acquisition, Fortinet Inc. has announced a new one: The publicly traded cybersecurity company is buying CyberSponse Inc. in a deal disclosed today.

Arlington, Virginia-based CyberSponse specializes in simplifying operations for organizations with a large number of breach prevention systems.

The firm’s CyOPs platform can pull alerts from multiple security tools and organize the data in a centralized interface so administrators don’t have to switch constantly among applications when investigating a threat. Tasks such as filtering out redundant alerts are done automatically.

CyOPs integrates with more than 325 external security tools and technologies. In addition, CyberSponse provides about 200 “playbooks,” automation workflows that enable the platform to respond to threats on its own in some scenarios. CyOPs can, for instance, check the IP address from which an external web request originates against a database of known malicious addresses, block the request if there’s a match and notify the security team.

CyOPs was selected by the U.S. Cyber Command last year to power a part of its security operations. CyberSponse has raised more than $7 million in equity and debt financing since launching nine years ago.

It’s unclear how big an exit CyberSponse’s investors will be getting through the Fortinet acquisition since the company didn’t share any financial terms. Fortinet’s plan is to integrate CyOPs into its Security Fabric suite of products, which includes firewall, vulnerability detection and connected device protection features, among other capabilities.

The growing number of security tools being deployed by enterprises have introduced operational complexities that make organizations more vulnerable to breaches,” Fortinet Chief Executive Officer Ken Xie said. He added that CyberSponse’s centralized security features will enable the company’s customers to “standardize and scale processes” around breach prevention.

Fortinet isn’t the only major security provider that went on a shopping spree this year. Palo Alto Networks Inc. shelled out more than $1.5 billion in 2019 on five startup acquisitions, the most recent of which was the purchase of cloud microsegmentation provider Aporeto Inc. last month for $150 million.

Merger and acquisition activity in the security market was up across the board this year. One estimate projected $17 billion in deals for 2019 and Forrester Research Inc. expects that the consolidation will continue into 2020. This trend, much like the parallel jump in funding rounds for security startups, is ultimately a reflection of the market’s rapid revenue growth: International Data Corp. sees global security spending rising from about $103 billion this year to more than $133 billion in 2022.  

Photo: Fortinet

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