Monday 8 January 2007

More About Why Cisco Bought IronPort

As I mentioned last week, Cisco bought IronPort for $830 million.

Clearly IronPort's reputation data is part of the prize for Cisco. Perhaps also, the PostX email encryption technology will possibly be useful (IronPort bought PostX last year). Perhaps some enhanced competition for Identum and Voltage? Alternatively, I fear that Cisco may let this stuff wither on the vine -- PostX customers should be concerned and watch closely.

An interesting question is what will happen (if anything) with SpamCop. IronPort deliberately ran SpamCop at arm's length as a matter of policy. It's not clear whether Cisco will maintain that policy. SpamCop is of course part of the raw data feeding into IronPort's reputation database, along with the data phoned home by the IronPort boxes.

As we saw with the BlackSpider acquisition by SurfControl, spam control companies that aggregate lots of data about spam sources are valuable, for reasons in addition to spam control. For example, if a zombie is sending spam, it's also probably a potential source of other bad stuff, such as worms and distributed denial of service attacks.

See also: my roundup of blogger reaction to this story in Friday's IT Blowatch.

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