Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Palo Alto Networks Acquires Cloud Securer RedLock 

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As more enterprise workloads migrate to the cloud, companies are looking for better ways to secure mission-critical data and applications as part of their hybrid cloud strategies.

With that requirement undoubtedly in mind, cybersecurity specialist Palo Alto Networks Inc. announced this week it is acquiring cloud security startup RedLock for approximately $173 million in cash.

The acquisition is expected to close at the end of October.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) also announced Wednesday (Oct. 3) that RedLock co-founders Varun Badhwar and Gaurav Kumar would join the company, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

The deal for RedLock, Menlo Park, Calif., gives Palo Alto Networks greater reach for securing workloads running on the largest public clouds. The RedLock acquisition follows a March deal for Evident.io, another public cloud security vendor.

Palo Alto Networks claims about 6,000 cloud customers using its portfolio of cloud security products that includes its VM-series firewall along with a growing list of security offerings acquired over the last year. The company targets multi-cloud security with a hosted, API-based security framework.

The deal for RedLock also reflects the growing need to secure multiple cloud platforms as more companies supplement their hybrid cloud infrastructure with more than one public cloud vender as a way to avoid vendor lock-in and boost availability. That migration has highlighted security concerns as more sensitive data moves to public clouds, often exposing sensitive databases to stealthy hackers.

Hence, market tracker Forrester Research forecasts the global cloud security sector will grow to $3.5 billion by 2021. That works out to a healthy 28 percent annual growth rate over the next four years.

“The addition of [RedLock’s] technologies [allow] us to offer the most comprehensive security for multi-cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, and significantly strengthens our cloud strategy going forward,” said Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks.

The RedLock acquisition also gives Palo Alto Networks new cloud analytics tools that can be integrated with its flagship security compliance tools.

RedLock was among the first cloud security specialists to note the growing vulnerability of databases in the cloud. For example, the startup reported last year that more than 30 percent of databases hosted in public clouds were exposed to the Internet. That along with unrestricted outbound traffic on most public cloud platforms means sensitive data could be pilfered without detection.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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