Security Experts:

McAfee to Acquire CASB Firm Skyhigh Networks

McAfee announced on Monday that it has agreed to acquire cloud access security broker (CASB) Skyhigh Networks for an undisclosed amount.

CASBs are the go-to solution for corporate cloud security. By controlling access to the corporate cloud they can apply visibility and security to what is within that cloud. But it is such a good solution that big security firms are rapidly buying up all the independent CASBs (such as Microsoft, Symantec, Forcepoint, Oracle, and Cisco).

It's reaching the stage where no large security firm can be without a CASB, and no CASB can survive and prosper without the support of a major security vendor.

"Skyhigh Networks had the foresight five years ago to realize that cybersecurity for cloud environments could not be an impediment to, or afterthought of, cloud adoption," said McAfee CEO Chris Young stated. "They pioneered an entirely new product category called cloud access security broker (CASB) that analysts describe as one of the fastest growing areas of information security investments of the last five years -- where Skyhigh continues to innovate and lead. Skyhigh's leadership in cloud security, combined with McAfee's security portfolio strength, will set the company apart in helping organizations operate freely and securely to reach their full potential."

Little about the mechanics of the agreement have been announced, beyond a statement that Skyhigh CEO "Rajiv Gupta will join McAfee CEO Chris Young's leadership team to run McAfee's new cloud business unit." However, both CEOs have provided a little more information in separate blogs.

"Combined with McAfee's endpoint security capabilities and operations center solutions with actionable threat intelligence, analytics and orchestration, we will be able to deliver a set of end-to-end security capabilities unique in the industry," writes Gupta.

"Cloud security has historically been an afterthought of, or impediment to, cloud adoption. With customers' most valuable asset, data, increasingly finding residence in the cloud, it's time security move to the forefront. At the same time, security cannot hinder cloud adoption, as the transformation the cloud promises extends far beyond the corridors of IT to every facet of modern business. Skyhigh had this prescience five years ago," wrote Young.

The combination of the two companies, with McAfee's traditional strength in endpoint security and a growing network security portfolio with Skyhigh's cloud security, should clearly benefit both organizations. "McAfee already claims a market-leading position in endpoint. With Skyhigh's leadership in securing the world's most valuable asset -- data -- in the cloud, the company sets itself apart," announces an associated Skyhigh FAQ.

But there is no information yet on how the products will work together -- just a placeholder from Skyhigh: "How will Skyhigh and McAfee's products work together? We have some exciting things in the works that we'll share over the coming months. Stay tuned!" If McAfee stays true to its stated intents, this will include bringing greater automation and orchestration to the cloud and associated endpoints.

McAfee separated from Intel in April 2017. 

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.