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Juniper brings in the Funk for tighter security

Continuing its drive to offer tight network security, Juniper Networks yesterday announced plans to buy Funk Software for a cool $122 million.

Keeping its finger on the network security pulse, Juniper Networks yesterday announced plans to buy Funk Software, a provider of standards-based network access security products.

The roughly $122 million cash deal is expected to be completed next month.

The Funk acquisition falls in line with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper's recent shift toward security, which includes last year's $4 billion purchase of NetScreen Technologies, maker of network security products, including VPN appliances and firewalls.

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"At the end of the day, the notions of networking and security go hand-in-hand," said Hitesh Sheth, vice president of enterprise products and solutions at Juniper.

According to a statement from both companies, the deal will bring key technology to beef up Jumper's recently announced unified access control products and further its plans to secure the delivery and assure the performance of applications over an IP network.

"Juniper is committed to delivering standards-based solutions that enable customers to secure the infrastructure they already have, allowing them to protect their technical and financial investments," Rob Sturgeon, Juniper's executive vice president and general manager of security products group, said in a statement. "The addition of Funk Software's technology to Juniper's security products portfolio will reinforce that commitment. Once again Juniper Networks is taking a leadership role as we continue to add value and intelligence to the network."

Some products offered by Funk Software include its Radius/AAA server, Steel-Belted Radius and the Odyssey Client, an 802.1x client for wireless and wired networks. Funk also recently launched its Endpoint Assurance Product suite for network-based enforcement of endpoint integrity.

Funk's products require users and devices to meet a company's security policies before accessing a corporate network to protect against Trojans, viruses, worms and other threats that could be introduced by wireless or remote workers. If those policies aren't met, the device or user can't access the network.

"At the end of the day, the notions of networking and security go hand-in-hand."
HItesh Sheth
Vice Presdietn of Enterprise Products and SolutionsJuniper Networks
Eric Maiwald, senior analyst with Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group, said the purchase of Cambridge, Mass.-based Funk fits in with Juniper's quest to continue enhancing network security at various layers.

"They seem to be of the opinion that security is really important on the networking side; that it is a future component in networking success," he said.

Last month, Juniper launched its Enterprise Infranet, a unified access product that uses a combination of identity-based policy and endpoint intelligence to give companies real-time visibility and policy control throughout their networks, Sheth said. The Funk Software acquisition enhances that offering by adding the ability to make policy enforcement decisions, Sheth said.

The combination of Funk Software's Endpoint Assurance and Juniper's Infranet Controller and Infranet Agent seems to be a good fit, according to Maiwald. Both vendors are reaching new areas in the identity management and endpoint access spaces, he said.

Sheth said Juniper, which has been a Funk customer, will now integrate Funk's applications into its access control software. He said customers have been demanding tighter, standards-based security for network access, and the Funk deal makes that available.

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