In a move to beef up its security, Akamai Technologies is betting $307 million on an acquisition that could help better protect its customers from distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks. The company is snapping up Prolexic, which provides cloud-based security solutions for safeguarding data centers and enterprise IP applications from cybercriminals.
As Akamai sees it, organizations are faced with an ever-changing threat landscape that demands comprehensive security solutions to address many different protection scenarios. The company listed a couple, in particular: securing mission-critical web properties and applications from attack; and protecting the full suite of enterprise IP applications -- including e-mail, file transfers, and VPN -- across a data center.
The acquisition seems like a strong fit for both companies. Akamai provides solutions for defending Web sites and Web applications by leveraging the scale and intelligence of its global platform to protect against even the largest and most sophisticated DDoS and application-layer attacks. Prolexic combines DDoS mitigation solutions with security operations expertise for protecting data centers and enterprise IP applications.
Curbing Data Theft
By acquiring Prolexic, Akamai is working to offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of security solutions designed to defend an enterprise's web and IP infrastructure against application-layer, network-layer and data center attacks delivered via the Internet.
"Today, business is defined by the availability, security and latency of Internet-facing applications, data and infrastructure," said Scott Hammack, CEO at Prolexic. "Being able to rely on one provider for Internet performance and security greatly simplifies resolution of network availability issues and offers clients clear lines of accountability. We believe that, together, we will be able to deliver an unprecedented level of network visibility and protection."
Tom Leighton, CEO of Akamai, seems particularly interested in protecting against attacks aimed at disrupting operations, defacing the brand, or attempting to steal sensitive data and information.
“By joining forces with Prolexic, we intend to combine Akamai's leading security and performance platform with Prolexic's highly-regarded DDoS mitigation solutions for data center and enterprise applications protection,” Leighton said. “We believe that Prolexic's solutions and team will help us achieve our goal of making the Internet fast, reliable, and secure.”
Buying the Expertise
We turned to Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos, for his take on the acquisition. He told us buying Prolexic makes sense for a company like Akamai. Although the company weathers DDoS attacks better than most Internet providers, he said it’s wise to have this expertise on staff because these attacks are seemingly becoming larger and more coordinated today than they have been in the past.
“When you take the experience combatting DDoS attacks and then you put Akamai’s resources behind it in terms of money and bandwidth, it’s going to be a pretty incredible combination,” Wisniewski said.
“The problem now if you are an Akamai and Amazon or any company of that kind of scale is that you may have bandwidth and computers but you probably don’t have as much experience and expertise as the Prolexic guys," he added. "Akamai couldn’t just hire a company like Prolexic to defend its network because they are not big enough to defend a network the size of Akamai. So the combination of resources is a pretty smart move.”