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Sophos Buys Machine Learning Vendor Barricade

Sophos has announced the acquisition of Irish security firm Barricade, adding behavior-based analytics to its endpoint offering.

Barricade offer a technology platform that it claims can enhance the ability to identify malicious or suspicious behaviour by using machine learning and artificial intelligence. It said that this works by extending the capabilities of rule-based detection technologies, that will be increasingly challenged to keep up with the growth of sophisticated and complex attack patterns.

Sophos will maintain the offices in the Republic of Ireland with Barricade CEO David Coallier and the team of developers, data scientists and engineers joining the Sophos Cloud group.

Coallier said: “We are proud of the technology we have built and are pleased to join the team at Sophos focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning based security analytics. Driving the development of our technology into a comprehensive security solution that every IT professional can use presents us with the next phase in our exciting journey.”

Bill Lucchini, senior vice president and general manager of the Cloud Security Group at Sophos said that the team and technology from Barricade will strengthen Sophos’ synchronized security capabilities, and its next-generation network and endpoint protection portfolio.

“Barricade has an impressive team of experts in data science and machine learning, and they share the Sophos vision for security made simple,” Lucchini said.

“Delivering advanced protection to partners and customers without adding layers of complexity is at the core of our product strategy. Enterprise-grade security should be available to all organizations, and the acquisition of Barricade will accelerate the next phase of synchronized security innovation across the Sophos central management platform.”

Brian Honan, CEO of BH Consulting, told Infosecurity: “This is a very interesting move by Sophos in that it allows them to expand their detection and response capabilities. For Barricade this is a great example of Irish innovation and technology leading the way in cyber security.

“Ireland is fast becoming a centre of excellence for cybersecurity with many indigenous firms developing ground breaking solutions, while major multi-national cybersecurity firms are establishing their European Headquarters and their research and development centres here.”

Andrew Kellett, principal analyst at Ovum told Infosecurity that this was an important acquisition for Sophos, and because of the way that the endpoint protection, detection, and remediation market is going, they could not afford to be without an analytical/machine learning capability.

“Rather than moving Sophos in a new direction, I would think of this as adding to the completeness of their overall offering,” he said. “Pulling back on the temporary advantage that the next-generation folks had is another way of looking at it.

“Perhaps just as relevant for Sophos is what their mainstream competition is doing: Trend Micro with its XGen analytical and MI technology; and Symantec/Blue Coat with its new release that includes analytics and MI. Basically the big players have been filling in the gaps in their endpoint protection portfolios during the last year, adding unknown threat detection capabilities, and I would see the Sophos acquisition as important from that point of view.”

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