Cisco buying Neohapsis for security brainpower

Cisco Systems plans to expand its security consulting services by acquiring Neohapsis, a small Chicago firm that tells enterprises how to secure their applications.

The Neohapsis acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is a classic “aqui-hire” intended to bring an experienced team at Neohapsis into the Cisco fold. Neohapsis President and CEO James Mobley and other key players in the 57-employee company came from @stake, a security firm acquired by Symantec in 2004. They will help to run the Cisco Security Services organization under Bryan Palma, who oversees that group and several others within Cisco. The new team should also help to attract more security talent to Cisco, Palma said.

Cisco Security Services has deep expertise in network and infrastructure security, and buying Neohapsis will expand that into the application layer, Palma said. Neohapsis helps clients with cloud, mobile and Web security as well as offering IT risk management and regulatory compliance services, he said. The company’s lab is often the first to discover security threats, Palma said.

Last year, Neohapsis Labs demonstrated a potential IPv6 attack against Windows 8 PCs that would let attackers intercept all Web traffic on a network.

Cisco is expanding its services business as part of a bid to become the world’s biggest IT company and a comprehensive partner for enterprises and service providers. From its core business in network infrastructure, the company is growing its computing, cloud and other businesses and aims to ride the Internet of Things to significant growth in the next several years.

The acquisition is expected to close next month and won’t be material to Cisco’s financial results. The Neohapsis team will remain based in Chicago, Palma said.

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