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Watchfire to buy application security company Sanctum

By Paul Roberts
July 29, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Business management software company Watchfire Corp. will buy Sanctum Inc., which makes Web application testing products, for an undisclosed amount, Watchfire said.
Watchfire, in Waltham, Mass., will add Sanctum's technology for spotting vulnerabilities in Web applications to its WebXM enterprise management platform, which allows customers to track Web application compliance to corporate security policies and regulations, according to executives from both companies.
Watchfire bought Sanctum's products and intellectual property in the deal, including the AppScan Web application testing software and AppShield application firewall. Watchfire, with 190 employees, will take on more than 75 Sanctum employees, including a research and development hub in Israel, which will be added to Watchfire's other development center in Ottawa, said Mike Weider, founder and chairman of Watchfire.
Some employees will be let go because of the acquisition, and the fate of employees at Sanctum's Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters is still being worked out, though Watchfire plans to maintain "some presence" there, Weider said.
Watchfire plans to marry the AppScan technology to WebXM and expects to release a version of the combined product by November. The merged product will give executives a dashboard, or centralized console, from which to view all of their company's Web sites and software development projects and assess their security posture. CIOs and vice presidents will be able to quickly assess progress in implementing privacy protections or complying with regulatory requirements, Weider said.
The top-down reviews by management will put more pressure on developers to focus on security, compared with developer-controlled and initiated security scanning tools, he said.
"The way security assessments are done now at the development level, there's no way to know, across an enterprise, how a company is doing at a point in time. If a developer chooses not to use scanning tools, then vulnerabilities can sneak into the development environment," he said.
Sanctum's AppScan and AppShield product will retain their names and continue to be sold separately. AppScan will also be turned into a module for WebXM that can be used to crawl over product Web applications and feed vulnerability information back to the WebXM dashboard. The AppShield product will be used to remediate security issues that are discovered, said Steve Orrin, chief technology officer at Sanctum.
The two similar-size companies already compete in some areas and share some customers, especially in the financial services industry. However, Watchfire believes that Sanctum's strong technology and good relations with companies that make integrated development environments will compensate for the overlap. At the same time, Watchfire will be able to introduce Sanctum technology into markets such as government, technologyand pharmaceuticals, in which it has made inroads, Weider said.
The acquisition of Sanctum is expected to close within 30 days, Weider said.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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