RSA = Rumors Swirling Around

Contact: Brenon Daly

Candidly, one of the main reasons we’ve always enjoyed the RSA conference is all the gossip at the event. From the show floor to get-togethers that take place along the periphery of the conference, people talk. That’s especially true at the boozy after-hours parties sponsored by vendors and their backers, where the focus is more on martinis than malware.

And once again, last week’s conference didn’t disappoint, with ‘RSA’ once again living up to its abbreviation of ‘rumors swirling around.’ Of course, most of the speculation centered on which security company was going to get taken out next. That’s more than a guessing game if you consider the following conference regulars that have been gobbled up just since last year’s RSA event: McAfee, ArcSight, PGP, SonicWall, Arcot Systems along with dozens of other smaller companies.

As for the next significant player to go, we heard a fair amount of M&A buzz around NetWitness. The company sells a powerful network-analysis platform for traffic capture, classification and analysis, and is thought to be running at roughly $60m in sales. The Washington DC-based startup is run by Amit Yoran, who already sold a company to Symantec back in 2002. (Private equity firm Summit Partners picked up a minority stake in NetWitness about a year ago.) The two names that came up most often as the rumored buyer of NetWitness were Hewlett-Packard, looking to add to its recent ArcSight acquisition, and Cisco, which has already done deals to add security to its core network business.