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RSA Takes Tablus

EMC unit picks up data leak prevention specialist for an estimated $40 million

EMC's RSA security division continued on its acquisition tear today, announcing its intent to buy content monitoring specialist Tablus for an undisclosed fee. (See RSA Snaps Up Tablus and TeliaSonera Launches Yoigo.)

The move follows EMC's recent purchase of authentication specialist Verid and last year's acquisition of Network Intelligence. (See EMC Secures Verid, EMC Buys Verid, and EMC Pockets Network Intelligence.)

Although the terms of the Tablus deal have not been revealed, the financial value of the acquisition is unlikely to match the $175 million spent on Network Intelligence, which had 700 customers and $25 million in funding.

Tablus, in contrast, has $23 million in funding, and around 30 customers, although these include the likes of Domino's Pizza, Microsoft, and financial giant Barclays.

Analyst Nick Selby of the 451 Group estimates that RSA spent around $40 million for Tablus, adding that the vendor has been on the lookout for this type of technology for almost a year. "This was a gaping hole in their strategy," he says. "They did look at a lot of players [in this space], but were slowed down by the fact that there were so many."

Tablus is one of a growing number of vendors, including Vontu, Vericept, and Cisco acquisition IronPort, that filter outgoing emails for potentially damaging leaks. (See Content Filtering Options Proliferate, Vericept, Vormetric Team, Reconnex Connects With $5.8M , Reconnex Intros 2600S, Vontu Brings Funding to $25M, and Cisco's Security Salvo.)

RSA's chief strategy officer Dennis Hoffman told Byte & Switch that all of Tablus' 65-stong workforce will be joining RSA when the deal closes in Q4, including CEO Anne Bonaparte and her management team. "Everybody is going to be coming over on day one," he says. "This is not a cost synergy-driven acquisition; this is a product and technology-driven acquisition."

Tablus's flagship email monitoring product is Content Alarm, which was launched in 2005, although the vendor also offers software for scanning sensitive content on laptops and desktops. (See Users Confess Security Fears , Laptop Venn & Zen, Portable Problems Prompt IT Spending, Laptop Encryption the Service Way, and Users Go for Data Lockdown.)

EMC is now planning to build Tablus's software into its Infoscape offering, which is at the forefront of the vendor's Intelligent Information Management (IIM) strategy. (See EMC Vows More for Infoscape, EMC Intros Services, and EMC Peels Back IIM.) IIM, which ties in with the vendor's Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) efforts, is basically an attempt to lock down users' data. (See EMC Intros IIM.)

At this stage, there is still no clear roadmap for combining the two technologies, according to Hoffman. "It's not clear if we're going to be building Tablus into Infoscape or Infoscape into Tablus," he says, adding that there are no plans to discontinue Tablus as a standalone product.

Infoscape is now fast resembling a patchwork quilt of recent EMC acquisitions, and already contains repository management software from Documentum, discovery capabilities from SMARTS, and Disk Xtender technology from Legato. (See EMC Cops Documentum, EMC Gets Smarts, EMC Acquires Smarts, and EMC Refreshes NAS, SAN.)

EMC is also looking to combine Tablus's software with its existing offerings around encryption and key management. (See Cisco, EMC, MS Help Out Uncle Sam, EMC, Cisco Team for Encryption, Bank Uses EMC, and Mark Lewis, CDO, EMC.) "Tablus's products give us a framework within which to position and sell our encryption capabilities," says Hoffman, although he was unable to provide a specific timeframe for this integration.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)
  • EMC Legato
  • EMC Smarts
  • IronPort Systems
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Network Intelligence Corp.
  • RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: EMC)
  • Tablus Inc.
  • The 451 Group
  • Vericept Corp.
  • Verid Inc.
  • Vontu Inc.

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