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SonicWall acquires Banyan to boost zero-trust, SSE offerings

With its second acquisition in two months, SonicWall aims to help enterprises with growing remote workforces through zero-trust network and security service edge offerings.

Security vendor SonicWall is expanding its zero-trust network offerings with the acquisition of Banyan Security.

On Wednesday, SonicWall announced that it acquired Banyan Security, a startup founded in 2015 that provides a cloud-based zero-trust network access (ZTNA) security architecture through its security service edge (SSE) platform. SonicWall purchased Banyan for an undisclosed amount on Dec. 26 with the intention to increase customers' edge security in a growing hybrid work environment.

ZTNA adoption rose over the last few years, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift toward remote work. Since then, hybrid work has become more commonplace and presented new security challenges that vendors hope to address with ZTNA. The framework assumes no user is trustworthy and helps segment network access to contain incidents.

However, moving to ZTNA has presented challenges for organizations. In 2022, Microsoft announced that it began its ZTNA transition in 2019, but the tech giant noted difficulties in employees' acceptance around the new framework. Now, as attacks on remote employees surge and become more advanced, more companies are implementing ZTNA.

SonicWall's existing ZTNA offering, which is part of its Cloud Edge Secure Access product, includes a least privilege access policy, microsegmentation to help reduce the attack surface, and support for managed and unmanaged bring-your-own devices. The Banyan Security Platform focuses on device-centric SSE for organizations with hybrid workforces. Banyan customers cover several vertical industries and include Chick-fil-A, Snap Finance and BlueVoyant.

In the announcement of the acquisition, SonicWall said Banyan will strengthen the company's offerings to enterprises that are moving away from legacy network architectures to SSE and ZTNA.

"For years, firewalls have been the cornerstone of cybersecurity defenses. However, with the rise of cloud computing and secure access service edge (SASE), the industry is shifting its focus to more comprehensive and flexible approaches that include SSE and ZTNA as a necessity," SonicWall CEO Bob VanKirk said in the press release. "Together, SonicWall and Banyan Security will provide cloud-based secure access service edge (SASE) solutions that empower partners to deliver a security architecture for any stage of their customers' evolving cloud journey."

The purchase of Banyan marks SonicWall's second acquisition in two months. On Nov. 16, SonicWall announced that it acquired managed security service provider (MSSP) Solutions Granted. Attacks against managed service providers (MSPs) have increased over the years, particularly from ransomware groups. For example, in 2021, Kaseya suffered an attack from the infamous REvil ransomware group that affected at least 1,500 customer organizations.

In response to the current threat landscape and increase in remote workers, VanKirk said MSSPs and MSPs are replacing legacy architectures with ZTNA and focusing on SSE products. He said the acquisitions will help SonicWall evolve its platform to a cloud offering by adding SSE, which includes ZTNA.

"This includes transforming existing appliance-based next-generation firewalls into FWaaS [firewall as a service] using cloud-native microservice architecture that can be deployed in private or public cloud," VanKirk said in an email to TechTarget Editorial. "Banyan Security is pivotal in SonicWall's cybersecurity platform vision to align our suite of solutions -- including network, endpoint, wireless, cloud email and threat intelligence -- under a simple, multi-tenant portal. Our platform will allow an MSP to protect an end user through simplified workflows and provide unified visibility to threats and alerts, empowering partners to spend more time on what matters."

Arielle Waldman is a Boston-based reporter covering enterprise security news.

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