Deal marks company’s third security acquisition this year
Virtualization pioneer VMware is buying network security vendor Lastline, which leverages artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in its threat detection services that include network traffic analysis and intrusion detection, as well as a sandbox for deep malware analysis.
The Lowdown: The deal, announced this week and expected to close before the end of July for an undisclosed amount, marks the third security-related acquisition by VMware, which took a big step deeper into the security space when it bought Carbon Black last year for $2.1 billion.
The Details: Foundational to Lastline’s product portfolio is its Defender network detection and response (NDR) platform, which is designed to find and contain cyberthreats before they impact a customer’s business.
VMware plans to fold the Lastline team into its NSX networking business and join it with the Carbon Black Threat Analytics Unit, giving the company greater visibility not only into the nature of a threat but also into the motivations and tactics behind it. In a blog post, Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Networking and Security Business Unit, noted the sandbox technology that he said does a deeper analysis of malware than traditional sandbox products, resulting in Lastline detecting twice the number of malicious files than a signature-based system.
The combination of the two companies will bring greater security capabilities to NSX, which in turn will enable Lastline to perform network analytics at a high scale across tens of thousands of cores, Gillis wrote. Lastline says that its product portfolio protects 20 million users in thousands of organizations. Among those are five of the top 10 financial institutions.
VMware stressed the pedigree of Lastline’s workforce, which includes 15 PhDs and other academics, as well as several of the top 10 most published security threat researchers. However, citing an unnamed source, TechCrunch reported that VMware plans to cut 40% of Lastline’s workforce – about 50 jobs – after the deal closes, though neither company confirmed the report.
The Impact: VMware is rapidly building up its security capabilities since its Carbon Black acquisition. Since January, the company bought network analytics company Nyansa in January and Octarine, a Kubernetes security firm in May.
Network security is becoming increasingly important to enterprises, which are facing a growing number of increasingly sophisticated threats and managing a more highly distributed workforce relying on the cloud and edge, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, and a trend toward the Internet of Things (IoT). A report from MarketsandMarkets said the global network security market will grow from $13.5 billion last year to $22.8 billion by 2024.
Background: Lastline, which currently has 156 employees, was founded in 2011 and since then has raised more than $52 million in six rounds of financing from such investors as Dell Technologies Capital, Barracuda Networks, Thomvest Ventures, and NTT.
The Buzz: “In the security industry, the nature of threats changes so rapidly that security technology is constantly being re-invented,” Gillis said. “In this context, it’s not the algorithms per se that matter; it’s the people that make the algorithms. Great people build great products, and great products build great companies. And that’s why we’re so excited about the combination of Lastline and VMware.”
“The protection of our customers is at the center of what we do at Lastline,” company CEO John DiLullo wrote in a blog post. “By joining forces with VMware, we will be able to offer additional capabilities to our customers and bring to market comprehensive security solutions for the data center, branch office, and remote and mobile users. In recent years, Lastline has enjoyed tremendous growth, acclaim for its AI-based threat detection capabilities, and most recently, recognition for pioneering successes with our Network Detection and Response (NDR) and Public Cloud security solutions.”