Imation acquires MXI Security, broadens product line

Finding data solutions that are both resilient and secure is high priority for both businesses and consumers. With that in mind, Imation Corp. a global storage company, have been moving more and more into the secure storage field.

As part of that move, the Oakdale, Minn., company recently worked with Montreal-based MXI Security to create a new secure line of products, the Defender Collection series.

“About a year ago, Imation Corporation decided they wanted to offer a line of secure products,” says Jack Sebbag, vice-president of sales and marketing at the recently acquired MXI Security – North America. “The greatest thing is that [they] get that security isn’t [their] realm, so they just said, ‘you guys do it for us’.”

Based on the strength of that endeavor, and following their acquisition of ENCRYPTX Corp. in March, Imation acquired MXI Security from Memory Experts International, Inc. last month.

Sebbag says it shows how Imation “want to become the leader in this marketplace”.

He says this will mean even more secure IT products from Imation and MXI. Among the new products are better solutions for securely working from home. Sebbag says they’re working on a flash drive that can store an OS, connectivity settings and files, to avoid the need for specially set-up laptops.

But this won’t signal the end of Imation’s consumer line. According to Sebbag, IT managers are “going to see some new products” but Imation “will make sure that people understand the difference”. It won’t be a question of transitioning into IT focused hardware only; Sebbag says that they’re “going to keep working on branding to keep them segregated”.

James Quin, lead research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, wasn’t surprised about the purchase. “This is part of a trend for the storage industry,” says Quin, “security has gone through a radical phase shift in the last couple of years.” Security, he says, is becoming very infrastructure orientated.

Instead of looking for storage solutions and then separate security to layer on top, “products have to be intrinsically secure,” Quin thinks. IT professionals are beginning to expect “encryption chips and capabilities intrinsic in the product itself,” which also allows there to be “a single point of management through fewer interfaces.”

Quin predicts that there are more changes to the players in the storage world near. In the same way that developments in car racing eventually trickle down to consumer autos, intrinsically secure drives will be easier to produce when companies team up like this. He believes it’ll allow companies who’ve got it to one up the competition with an extra bullet point on the back of their box. Does it make Imation’s move “truly revolutionary and groundbreaking? I don’t think it is. Imation is just further ahead on the curve,” says Quin.

As this seems to be the beginning of a groundswell towards intrinsic security in storage, the acquisition seems to be a good fit for both parties. Sebbag says it was a friendly one too, with all of the Canadian staff intact and staying in Montreal. “We’re going to continue to run a profitable business” says Sebbag, and “they’re going to provide resources and personnel to make that happen”.

Running that profitable business also means OEM contracts with other providers. While MXI have been acquired by Imation, the move by know means translates to exclusivity. Sebbag says that the MXI division will continue to work with other manufacturers, like McAfee, to provide security solutions and continue to grow the business.

Quin says deals like this are not uncommon in this day and age, as many acquired companies continue to run mostly independent of their purchasers, but allow them access to untapped markets.

Neither party has disclosed how much Imation paid for MXI.

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