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Verizon buys Cybertrust, boosts security profile

Verizon finalized its acquisition of Cybertrust last week, increasing the telecom carrier's security expertise and service offerings.

This story was updated on July 16, 2007 by staff.

Verizon Business announced it has finalized acquisition of the Herndon, Va.-based information security services provider Cybertrust Inc. The deal, which closed on July 9, made Verizon Business the largest managed information security services to large-business and government customers worldwide, Verizon Business President John Killian said in a statement.

TruSecure Corp., Betrusted Holdings Inc. and Ubizen merged nearly three years ago, heavyweight security vendor Cybertrust was born. Now, Cybertrust has been absorbed into the operations of telecom giant Verizon.

"As the world continues to move to IP, this combination creates an essential engine for protecting our customers' operations end-to-end," Killian said. "It will also enable Verizon Business to accelerate its creation and deployment of world-class security solutions to meet our customers' increasing need for comprehensive security solutions that are available globally."

Cybertrust CEO John Becker said that the deal is a "tremendous opportunity to accelerate and further realize the vision of Cybertrust that started two and a half years ago."

He said the combined company will be the market leader of information security solutions worldwide -- the first to offer network, security, and identity management services from a single vendor. "Our customers and partners will benefit from the resources, capital, and 150-country local presence of Verizon Business that will stand behind and enhance the Cybertrust services and offerings that they have already come to value," he said.

Each company's customers can access an integrated portfolio of security offerings combined under the "Verizon Business Security Solutions powered by Cybertrust" brand.

Mike Rothman, president and principal analyst of Security Incite in Atlanta, said the move makes sense, given Verizon's effort to build deeper relationships with larger enterprises. Rothman, who once served as vice president of marketing at TruSecure, said the acquisition will give the telecom a bigger footprint in the security market.

"This is like the BT (British Telecom) acquisition of Counterpane, only this is a much bigger deal," Rothman said. Last year, BT Group acquired Counterpane Internet Security Inc., whose founder and CTO is security luminary Bruce Schneier.

He said this continues the trend where large telecoms are acquiring security vendors to make their service offerings more attractive to large companies that are increasingly inundated with security challenges. He added that it'll be interesting to see if Cybertrust's best security minds will adapt to the culture of a telecom company or go elsewhere.

Paul Stamp, a senior security analyst for Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., agreed the acquisition will give Verizon a much greater global presence in the security space.

"For a vendor, the big differentiators in the security space are the people who work for you and the other clients you've got," he said. "Cybertrust has plenty of high-quality people and clients, so provided Verizon can hang on to both, this could prove to be a shrewd move."

The newly augmented Verizon Business Security Solutions suite includes premise and network-based managed security services, consisting of denial of service, managed email, managed devices and managed intrusion protection and detection systems; identity and access management; threat and vulnerability management; partner security programs; and security certification programs.

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