Watchfire acquires Sanctum

Watchfire Corp., a business management software company, announced Monday that it has acquired Sanctum Inc., a company specializing in Web application security testing and firewall software. The companies plan to combine Watchfire’s WebXM enterprise management platform with Sanctum’s AppScan Web application testing software and AppShield application firewall.

Through a centralized source, the new merged product will give CIOs visual access to all of their companies’ Web sites and various projects while monitoring the security of the sites, according to Watchfire.

The two companies said the combined solution will allow organizations to meet security and privacy standards and comply with both regulatory internal corporate policies and external regulations.

“Watchfire makes Web development tools and Web developers need to worry about lots of things which security is one and typically performance is another big one,” explained Pete Lindstrom, research director for analytics firm Spire Security in Malvern, Penn. “Adding security tools to the mix that are targeting Web developers, I think makes a lot of sense.”

Lindstrom called Sanctum “the grandfather of Web application security,” adding that it was the first company to make itself known for focusing on Web application. At the time, roughly four years ago, Lindstrom said it was difficult for people to distinguish between the Web server and the Web application and Sanctum helped to clarify the roles.

With the acquisition comes new competition from companies offering similar technology — in this case Lindstrom said one of these companies is Kavado Inc.

“They both offer a scanner, which is that passive administrative side and a firewall, which is the in-line mode,” he noted.

Kavado offers InterDo, its Web application firewall and ScanDo, its Web application scanner.

According to the terms of the agreement, Watchfire will take control over Sanctum’s products and intellectual property. Watchfire will also add approximately 75 Sanctum employees but will also be letting go of some as a result of the acquisition.

At this point in time, Watchfire said it has no plans to close either its research and development (R&D) offices in Ottawa or Sanctum’s R&D locations in Israel.

The purchase price of the acquisition was not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

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