nobeastsofierce - Fotolia

News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

Observable acquisition to bolster Cisco cloud security

Cisco plans to acquire security company Observable Networks. The acquisition would strengthen Cisco cloud security for AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Cisco plans to acquire privately held Observable Networks and fold the company's cloud-focused security technology into Cisco's Stealthwatch analytics tools.

Cisco said this week that it expects to close the acquisition of Observable, based in St. Louis,  by the end of October. Cisco did not disclose financial details of the deal, which would bolster Cisco cloud security.

Observable is the latest in a string of security-related acquisitions Cisco has made in its push to make software and cloud-based services a larger portion of overall revenue as hardware sales decline. About 5% of Cisco's revenue comes from security products, with almost half of that revenue coming from software, according to the company.

Observable provides security through behavioral modeling, which is the process of establishing normal behavior for endpoints on the network and alerting security analysts when there's a deviation. The vendor builds behavioral models using machine learning techniques, Rob Salvagno, the head of Cisco's merger and acquisition team, said in a blog post.

Observable betters Cisco cloud security for Amazon, Microsoft Azure

Observable software performs behavioral modeling on virtual servers in Amazon Web Services environments and on virtual machines running on Microsoft Azure. Observable taps into the security services available in the cloud providers to gather data. The company's features for AWS and Azure would strength Cisco cloud security.

Observable would add more security-related information to the Stealthwatch system, which consolidates data and then analyzes it in search of network breaches and threats. Stealthwatch information-gathering today includes event data from firewalls, routers, switches and other network devices.

Cisco plans to fold Observable's operations into its security business group led by David Ulevitch, who founded the security firm OpenDNS. Cisco acquired the company in 2015 for $635 million.

In 2013, Cisco bought intrusion prevention company Sourcefire for $2.7 billion. Other companies bought since then include Lancope, which developed Stealthwatch; ThreatGrid, a malware sandbox technology specialist; and CloudLock, which Cisco acquired last year for $293 million. CloudLock improved Cisco cloud security by protecting corporate data in the cloud.

Cisco has targeted the highly fragmented security market as an area in which the company can increase sales in software and cloud services. Cisco's strategy is to provide customers with a one-stop shop for security, which the vendor pitches as a better alternative than buying point technologies from multiple vendors.

Next Steps

Why the cloud is more secure than traditional IT

Monitoring and testing to avoid cloud security threats

What to consider when determining cloud computing security and compliance

Dig Deeper on Network Security Monitoring