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Risk

12/22/2008
04:08 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Quick Take: Check Point Frees Nokia To Be Nokia

To IT security industry watchers, the move announced today that Check Point Software Technologies is acquiring Nokia's security business is no shocker. And perhaps it will enable Check Point to start doing what it should have been doing all along: innovating more.

To IT security industry watchers, the move announced today that Check Point Software Technologies is acquiring Nokia's security business is no shocker. And perhaps it will enable Check Point to start doing what it should have been doing all along: innovating more.Today's announcement did not say how much Check Point paid for Nokia's appliance business, which ran Check Point's firewall and VPN software:

"For over 10 years, the security appliance business within Nokia has held a leading position in the security appliance market. Our IP security platforms have developed a well-deserved reputation as the premier platform on which to deploy Check Point's leading security software," said Tom Furlong, senior VP of services and software at Nokia. "This business fits naturally with Check Point, and the combination will provide a great path forward for the thousands of customers who depend on Nokia security solutions today."

"As a pioneer in security appliances, the Nokia security appliance business has been an important strategic partner for Check Point and has helped us achieve early leadership in the security appliance market," said Gil Shwed, chairman and CEO at Check Point. "Adding Nokia's security appliance portfolio into Check Point's broad range of security solutions is the natural conclusion of our long collaboration, and will assure a smooth path forward for our mutual customers."

Nokia's security appliance business never grew to be more than hardware optimized to run Check Point's software. The platform that Crossbeam Systems builds, for example, provides for the scalable, and much more customizable consolidation of security applications.

Nokia shines as a mobility and handset company. It's security appliance division has always seemed to me to be an awkward fit for the company -- like a one-size-fits-all shoe that the rest of the world outgrew. Giving the division to Check Point enables the company to better focus, and with the added pressure in the mobile phone market and the struggling economy, that's exactly what Nokia should do.

As for Check Point, having more control over the hardware used to deliver its software could enable it to innovate, something the company has been too slow to do. It's been milking its stateful network firewall installed base for far too long. For instance, the company -- and its customers -- could certainly benefit from the company providing much more security up the application stack than it currently provides. That would be a good start.

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