This week FireEye announced both its quarterly results and the acquisition of nPulse, a network forensics tool.
I was critical of FireEye’s Mandiant acquisition for one billion dollars mostly because they stressed the endpoint product, not the accretive revenue from Mandiant’s vaunted breach response services. (Taking into account today’s stock price of FEYE the Mandiant deal would now be valued at $687 million.) I am not a fan of holistic land grab strategies for security vendors. Any strategic combination of network, host, data, access control, and professional services is not going to work.
FireEye is a network security vendor that went to market without a critical component for fighting modern targeted attacks: full packet capture and security analytics. The acquisition of nPulse addresses this gap and is logical for a network security vendor.
nPulse Technologies is a hardware based packet capture and analysis solution. The Capture Probe eXtreme (CPX) product is reminiscent of the way Solera Networks originally went to market with compact disk arrays in rack mountable appliances. Solera moved away from the hardware space shortly before being acquired BlueCoat Networks. The other competitors, NetWitness(RSA), and Arbor Networks (PravailSA) also avoided avoid the storage appliance strategy (although EMC has a significant storage business), with Arbor’s PacketLoop the only one that started with a cloud storage strategy.
As an innovator in capturing and analyzing advanced malware FireEye is well positioned to leverage the nPulse product. Their network of deployed devices will presumably be integrated in such a way as to extract key indicators from attacks and provide intelligence to the security analytics applied to captured traffic.
FireEye told securitycurrent that they had already integrated functionality with nPusle for several customers. Now the rest of FireEye’s customer base can backfill their own defensive capabilities by adding the power of network forensics.
The acquisition of nPulse did nothing to assuage Wall Street’s qualms about FireEye which has seen a dramatic drop in its valuation; almost $10 billion since it’s high on March 5.