April 4, 2011 –EMC Corporation announced its purchase of NetWitness Corporation, a network security detection and incident remediation solution and services provider.

Financial terms of the deal for privately held NetWitness were not disclosed. Although the deal was announced Monday, April 4, it actually closed Friday, April 1.

NetWitness will operate as part of RSA, the security division of EMC that announced a major breach of its customer information and SecurID products two weeks before this deal closed. The cyber attack involved extraction of security information from some of RSA’s 25,000 customers that could be used to reduce effectiveness of SecurID’s two-factor authentication process as part of a broader breach.

Enterprise Management Associates managing research director Scott Crawford said it is likely that the deal has been in the works since before that breach was announced, though didn’t rule out it being a factor in the acquisition. However, he said NetWitness does more to expand on EMC’s capabilities with data used for security insight, particularly with its RSA Archer eGRC platform.  

“Injecting this type of realism into data that informs strategy management could spur further development and increase maturity in IT risk and security management,” says Crawford.

As part of RSA, NetWitness will become part of its Advanced Security Management Solutions. Tom Heiser, RSA president, said in a news release that NetWitness’ capabilities would increase clarity and timely closure of cyber threats in physical and virtualized areas.

“The intensity and sophistication of advanced adversaries and zero day malware challenge every organization to rethink traditional approaches to network security,” Heiser said.

Crawford says the acquisition of network risk analytics and compliance capabilities in the data-driven security space “throws down the gauntlet” to security offerings from competitors IBM and HP, which purchased competitor ArcSight last year.

For additional insight into the ramifications of the RSA security breach, click here to read a column from our sister publication, Bank Technology News.

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