3Com to buy Tippingpoint for $430M

3Com to buy Tippingpoint for $430M

3Com became the latest company to scoop up technology for preventing attacks on computer networks, announcing on Monday that it was acquiring TippingPoint Technologies for US$430 million in cash.

The deal will add TippingPoint's UnityOne line of network-based IPS (intrusion prevention system) hardware and software to 3Com's stable of enterprise security products, and will give 3Com a leg up in the growing market for technology to serve converged networks of voice and data, 3Com said in a statement.

3Com will pay $47 in cash for each outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, adding TippingPoint as a new division within 3Com. Kip McClanahan, TippingPoint's current chief executive officer (CEO), will be the division president.

Companies use TippingPoint's technology to protect their networks from a variety of threats, including DOS (denial of service) attacks, and infections from worms and viruses. TippingPoint's UnityOne IPS appliances use a custom chip to inspect network traffic at high speeds, spotting attacks aimed at software applications, as well as routers, switches, DNS (Domain Name System) servers and other critical network infrastructure. The UnityOne Security Management System allows companies to centrally manage and control IPS appliances across the network, according to TippingPoint.

The UnityOne technology will strengthen 3Com's enterprise product portfolio, giving the company a foothold in the intrusion detection and prevention hardware and software markets which, together, are expected to be worth $1.24 billion by 2008, according to IDC.

The purchase will also give the company technology for securing VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) traffic, as well as traditional network traffic, on so-called converged networks, 3Com said in a statement.

3Com has taken steps in the last year to build its profile as a provider of network security technology. In Nov. 2003, the company unveiled a partnership with Crossbeam Systems to market and sell that company's security services switches to medium-size and large enterprises worldwide.

In January, the company released the 3Com Security Switch 6200, a new switch that uses Crossbeam technology and provides firewall, anti-virus, content-filtering and intrusion detection features on a single device. In September, 3Com added the Security Switch 7245 and 7280 to that line, targeting large enterprises and Internet service providers with features like VPNs (virtual private networks), intrusion detection, virus scanning, antispam and secure remote access via SSL (secure socket layers) VPN.

3Com is just the latest company to buy its way into the IDP (intrusion detection and prevention) market.

In a megadeal announced in February, Juniper Networks Inc. bought security vendor NetScreen Technologies for stock worth approximately US$4 billion, adding NetScreen's network security products, including IDP appliances, to Juniper's portfolio.

In March, Cisco Systems bought Riverhead Networks for US$39 million in cash, picking up technology to protect networks from DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

Security software companies are getting into the IDP business, also. McAfee Inc. laid out US$220 million in April, 2003, for two companies: IntruVert Networks, a maker of hardware-based firewalls and network intrusion detection systems, and Entercept Security Technologies, which made host IPS technology.

More recently, Symantec signed a deal on Dec. 3 to purchase Platform Logic, a maker of the AppFire host-based intrusion detection software for an undisclosed sum.

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