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Cisco to acquire container security specialist Portshift

Cisco's acquisition of Israeli startup Portshift would add essential security tools for companies that use the Kubernetes system for deploying cloud-native applications.

Cisco plans to acquire Israeli startup Portshift, a move that would add critical security tools to Cisco's platform for deploying and managing Kubernetes container clusters.

Cisco announced the acquisition this week, saying it expects to complete the deal before the end of January. Cisco, which plans to retain Portshift's 14 employees, did not disclose financial details.

Portshift technology provides essential security applications for companies that use the open source Kubernetes orchestration system to deploy containers in cloud environments. Portshift's products offer vulnerability and configuration management, network segmentation, data encryption and compliance auditing.

Cisco has a Kubernetes-driven container management platform for deploying containers, providing network services and applying bug fixes. The platform also monitors usage patterns.

Security is an area that Cisco needed to strengthen within its container tools, said IDC analyst Jim Mercer. "They realize that they need to have something available on the platform to provide security to their users."

Cisco announced the Portshift acquisition two days after networking rival VMware said it would buy container security vendor SaltStack. VMware plans to integrate SaltStack technology into its vRealize suite of cloud management software.

Ran Ilany, Portshift's CEO, and Zohar Kaufman, vice president of research and development, founded the company in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2018. They raised $5.3 million in seed money from Team8, an investment company focused on technology startups. Cisco is an investor in Team8, along with Microsoft, Walmart and AT&T.

Cisco has made security a focus within its acquisition strategy for a while. In 2018, Cisco acquired Duo Security for $2.35 billion. Duo added cloud-based authentication services to Cisco's portfolio.

In 2015, Cisco acquired OpenDNS for $635 million. OpenDNS provided cloud-based technology for stopping malware, botnets and phishing attacks at the DNS layer.

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