Security Experts:

Raytheon, Websense Discuss Integration Plans

RSA Conference 2015 -- As the crowds descended on the RSA Conference in San Francisco at the start of the week, Raytheon and Websense announced a deal they hope will disrupt the industry.

Raytheon revealed it had reached an agreement with Vista Equity Partners to form a new company combining Websense with Raytheon Cyber Products, a business unit of Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services segment. Vista purchased Websense in 2013. The agreement came with a hefty price tag for Raytheon - $1.9 billion (net of cash acquired), which includes a $600 million intercompany loan to the as of yet unnamed venture.

To hear Websense CEO John McCormack tell it however, the deal is the first step in bringing a solution to market that can address the needs of enterprises facing an evolving landscape featuring advanced persistent threats and challenges created by mobility and the Internet of Things.

"You've got a transformation of the enterprise that basically disrupts typical perimeter security systems we've used for years, and you've got adversaries that are well-funded, well-structured…and that's vastly different than what we've faced in the past," McCormack, who will continue to serve as CEO of the new company, told SecurityWeek in an interview.

The reality has changed the economics of the business for the security industry, he said.

"It used to be - and I did a start up and I was successful with that and sold it to Symantec - but with $20 or $30 million you could build a decent product to defend against the adversaries of the past and have a nice business," said McCormack. "Now you are up against countries, right, that have limitless resources to penetrate. So we've recognized in this industry while you need to set up a strong defense system and repel the incursion attempts, it's futile to expect that to be the only defense strategy you have."

Raytheon and Websense have plans to integrate Raytheon's SureView product suite, which among other capabilities includes insider threat detection and defenses aimed at advanced persistent threats (APTs), with Websense's Triton platform.

"We think soon after the close [of the deal], some of the intelligence systems that are behind the SureView product, the threat intelligence, and [the] Websense intelligence system can start sharing threat indicators and basically strengthen both portfolios with our existing customer base," said McCormack, adding that plans for a "very aggressive product integration" of Raytheon and Websense technology has been charted out for the next 18 months.

"But all along the way we will be delivering that integrated proposition in pieces or chunks as we go," he said.

McCormack also told SecurityWeek that Websense has kept its channel customers in the loop about the deal and has additional education and training programs planned for them once the transaction is finalized.

Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business, said that the combination of the companies' technologies will fill "a real need" due to the broadness of today's ever-broadening attack surface.

"The targets of opportunity are so great that it requires the type of security structure, security capabilities, we are bringing to market with this new company," he said.  

The decision to acquire Websense is one of a series of moves Raytheon has made in the realm of cyber-security during the past several years, including the purchase of Blackbird Technologies in 2014.

*This story was updated to add additional commentary about plans for channel customers.

view counter