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Accuvant Acquires Cybersecurity Firm Ciphent

Purchase by security consulting firm aims to grab a share of increased spending by federal agencies.



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Security consulting firm Accuvant announced Monday that it's acquired cybersecurity firm Ciphent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ciphent's CEO and chief operating officer will become part of Accuvant's management team, which consists of vice presidents. At least initially, Ciphent will also operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Accuvant.

Accuvant provides information risk and compliance management; resells, implements, and manages security technology; and provides security research and assessment through its Accuvant Labs. Ciphent will add secure software development -- especially for project implementations -- plus a security operations center, managed services, online training, and support. In addition, the move buys Accuvant a number of government clients, as half of Ciphent's customers are federal agencies.

Both firms have been growing rapidly. "Independently, Accuvant and Ciphent have been two of the fastest growing cybersecurity companies for years," said James C. Foster, CEO for Ciphent. Both firms were featured on the 2010 Inc. magazine list of the fastest-growing companies in the United States. Ciphent, in fact, ranked 16th, reporting a three-year growth of 8,907%, to reach 2009 revenue of $9.3 million. The combined Accuvant expects to earn $250 million in revenue for 2010.

The information security market is hot, as evidenced by a recent wave of security acquisitions. "Security as a market is growing, certainly that's true for the commercial sector, and also in the public sector," said Scott Walker, Accuvant's VP of strategic planning, who's in charge of the company's mergers and acquisitions. "Cybersecurity within the federal government is one of the top defense concerns, and you hear the Obama administration talk about making major investments in the national information infrastructure."

But what accounts for the two firms' growth rates in particular? "Ciphent and Accuvant are growing fast because consumers -- be it federal agencies or large enterprises -- are bombarded with a very confusing landscape, you have a growing list of threats, a ton of regulations, and a slew of different vendors promising to solve all of your problems," said Walker. "If you're a chief information officer, it's very difficult to know what to do about all of that complexity."

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