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CloudLock to make Cisco security portfolio better at cloud security

Cisco spends $293 million on technology that secures mobile users' access to the cloud. It's the latest addition to the Cisco security portfolio.

Cisco's $293 million acquisition of CloudLock Inc. will expand the Cisco security portfolio to cover corporate employees using mobile devices to access  sensitive data in the cloud.

The acquisition, announced this week, comes at a time when companies are subscribing to more online software, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce, and moving workloads to public clouds, like Amazon Web Services. At the same time, companies have to contend with employees using personal devices to access regulated data stored outside corporate data centers.

"Cisco is putting together a full stable of network-based security to protect cloud systems and on-premises systems as well," said Jack Gold, president of research firm J. Gold Associates LLC, based in Northborough, Mass. "Security is a strategic growth area for Cisco, and it is serious about being a major player."

Indeed, in the quarter ended April 30, Cisco reported security was its fastest-growing product category. Revenue increased 17% from the same period a year ago.

CloudLock technology

Security is a strategic growth area for Cisco, and it is serious about being a major player.
Jack Goldanalyst at J. Gold Associates

CloudLock, based in Waltham, Mass., would bolster the Cisco security portfolio with a cloud access security broker (CASB), which acts as a gatekeeper between mobile devices and PCs accessing data in the cloud. Companies configure the CASB to enforce policies for using closely watched data.

For example, companies can block unsecured devices from cloud applications and services. They can also restrict access to specific geographies or to a particular time of the day. Those restrictions would help prevent hackers from stealing corporate information. The controls also help companies comply with government regulations and rules set by lawyers.

CloudLock provides analytics that describes how employees are using and sharing data. Such information assists companies in designing policies that reduce the risk of unauthorized distribution of data.

The time is right for acquiring a company like CloudLock. A recent IDC survey found 58% of organizations are using private or public clouds for more than one or two small applications or workloads. That number is up from 24% about a year ago. Organizations using cloud computing expect to increase spending in the area by 44% over the next two years.

Meanwhile, more companies are letting employees use their mobile devices for work. The BYOD trend in enterprises has created a technology market that will grow from roughly $94 billion in 2014 to $350 billion by 2022, according to Global Market Insights, based in Ocean View, Del.

Cisco expects to complete the acquisition of CloudLock by the end of October. Cisco plans to fold the company into its networking and security business group, which is led by Senior Vice President David Goeckeler. CloudLock has more than 700 customers, including some Fortune 500 companies, according to Cisco.

CloudLock would be Cisco's fifth acquisition this year. Since 2013, the company has made several significant additions to its Cisco security portfolio, including Sourcefire, OpenDNS and Lancope.

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