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Sunbelt Software Acquired by GFI

Sunbelt Software Acquired by GFI
By Adam Dickter

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GFI offers products that are available on-premises, through cloud computing or as a hybrid of both. The company operates in the U.S. and United Kingdom, Austria, Malta, Hong Kong and Romania. The merger will allow Sunbelt to bring its security software products and antivirus software into a previously untapped European market.

GFI, maker of software solutions for small and medium-sized businesses including Max Remote Management, has acquired Sunbelt Software, in a deal that will allow GFI to tap into established security software sales and integrate them into its systems email programs.

Sunbelt is best known for its VIPRE antivirus software, which is designed to function well without slowing down your computer, with a focus on screening e-mails. Other products include CounterSpy, Sunbelt Exchange Archiver, CWSandbox, and ThreatTrack.

Details of the deal between Malta-based GFI, whose U.S. operations are based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Clearwater, Fla.-based Sunbelt, which has about 250 employees were not disclosed. GFI said it is also exploring other strategic partnerships, and will divest itself of a separate Sunbelt division that distributes software, mainly Double-Take high-availability programs.

Dynamic Duo?

The companies painted their merged operation as a force to be reckoned with in the fast-growing data security field.

"The technologies developed by both companies are highly complementary and I have a hard time imagining a better combination," said Alex Eckelberry, CEO of Sunbelt Software in a statement. Eckleberry said the two companies are rooted in similar business principles, with similar markets and a commitment to superlative customer service.

GFI's CEO Water Scott said his company had searched extensively for new developers and management teams to expand its product offerings.

"We were impressed by the high quality and innovative technology that underlies Sunbelt's VIPRE line of products and immediately saw strong synergies between the two companies," said Scott. "We have acquired a good, growing and cash-flow positive business that fits well within GFI's strategic vision to consolidate our products and grow our business."

A report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal said Eckelberry and three other top Sunbelt officials, vice president of research and development Mark Patton, chief technology officer Eric Sites and Bill Emerick, senior vice president of products and services, will remain with the merged company.

The paper said Sunbelt's retiring co-founder Stu Sjouwerman will continue working with Sunbelt publications such as WServerNews, Win7News and SecurityNews.

Range of Solutions

GFI offers products that are available on-premises, through cloud computing, or as a hybrid of both. The company operates in the U.S. and United Kingdom, Austria, Malta, Hong Kong and Romania. The merger will allow Sunbelt to bring its products into a previously untapped European market.

As more SMBs embrace the growing availability of cloud computing systems, it creates an opening for security vending, a field that requires a full-time focus.

"Security by its nature is complex; few SMBs have the staff, experience, or patience to deal with the many threats lurking on the Internet," said E. Scott Menter, VP of business solutions for BP Logix, a Vista, CA maker of business process management software. "For example, many SMBs don't even have adequate password policies. In a situation like that, setting up a VPN [virtual private network] is nice, but it's like putting five padlocks on your front door and then leaving it ajar. You've spent money, but you haven't really improved anything."

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