Cisco's latest acquisition spree nabs three companies

Cisco's acquisitions, announced this week, would improve event hosting in Webex, boost network speeds for 5G, and enhance its security platform. Deal terms were not released.

Cisco agreed this week to acquire Sedona Systems, Socio Labs and Kenna Security to bolster offerings in its high-speed networking, collaboration and security businesses, respectively.

The company, which announced the acquisitions over four days, did not release the terms of the deals. Cisco expects the Socio and Kenna transactions to close later in the year; it did not say when it expects to complete the Sedona purchase.

Kenna Security, based in California, helps companies find and evaluate security risks. Kenna's platform analyzes a company's vulnerabilities, using data on exploits to predict which software vulnerabilities hackers might prioritize.

Cisco said the Kenna acquisition, announced Friday, is meant to reduce complexity for security and IT teams. Prioritizing threats will make it easier for resource-limited IT professionals to use their time efficiently. Cisco will combine Kenna's technology with its SecureX platform, providing one place for IT to find, assess and tackle risks.

Two days earlier, Cisco announced the acquisition of Socio Labs, saying it intends to incorporate Socio's event technology in Webex. Socio's products help companies put on trade shows and conferences with both virtual and in-person attendees. Socio employees will join the Webex Customer Experience team after the deal closes.

Indiana-based Socio's virtual suite of products handles attendee registration, video streaming and post-event analytics. For in-person meetings, Socio can create customized event apps, provide content for conference-hall screens, help participants network, and check attendees in and out of events.

Javed Khan, vice president and general manager, Cisco collaboration divisionJaved Khan

Cisco executive Javed Khan wrote in a blog post that the company expects post-pandemic conferences to accommodate both in-person and remote attendees. Ensuring the two groups can participate equally will be a challenge for remote hosts, Khan said. Using multiple products will also make planning events more complex.

In a statement, Socio CEO Yarkin Sakucoglu said the acquisition lets organizers work with one vendor for both the in-person and virtual components of an event. Socio's platform will continue as a standalone product, but Cisco plans to integrate it with other products. They include Slido, which offers event polling.

Earlier in the week, Cisco said it plans to acquire Israel-based Sedona Systems. Cisco said the acquisition will help build carrier networks that have sufficient speed for future applications. They include augmented and virtual reality and 5G services.

Cisco has been bolstering its communication service provider portfolio, expecting carriers to increase spending eventually to deliver 5G services to businesses. Providing the next-generation wireless technology will require service providers to rearchitect their current 4G networks.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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