Akamai buys Guardicore for $600M to fight ransomware

Cloud company and content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies took aim at ransomware, inking a $600 million deal to acquire Israel-based company Guardicore to boost its zero trust security portfolio.

Tom Leighton, Akamai’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement that “by adding Guardicore’s leading micro-segmentation products to Akamai’s comprehensive portfolio of zero trust solutions, we believe Akamai will be able to provide the most effective way to combat ransomware on the market today.”

Guardicore’s micro-segmentation capability limits user access to only those applications which are permitted to communicate with one another and provides deep visibility into flows across data center and cloud applications. This, Akamai said, enables earlier detection of potential security breaches or other threats and adds another layer of defense that can help stem the spread of malware.

The deal is expected to close in Q4 of 2021, with Guardicore forecast to contribute $30 million to $35 million in revenue in Akamai’s fiscal 2022.

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Akamai previously acquired mobile, IoT and security solutions company Asavie in October 2020 to enhance its roster of device security and management services.

The move to bolster its defenses against malware and ransomware follows a recent surge in such attacks. According to a recent report from McAfee, the volume of malware threats hit 688 per minute in Q1 2021, with attacks increasingly targeting technology, education and finance and insurance organizations. High profile ransomware incidents this year include attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, Accenture, Acer, the Washington D.C. Police Department and IT service company Kaseya.

Analysts at Raymond James wrote in a note to investors Guardicore's product "lends itself well to what we believe is still a high-growth market in security services, particularly with enterprise post-COVID digitization still in full force, some permanence of remote workforces, and the continued proliferation of DIY tech for enterprises that bring potential security breaches." They added they expect zero trust architectures "to see robust growth for the mid-to-long term" and believe the acquisition "is a good boost to the growth profile of the business."

Last month, Microsoft made its own move to tackle ransomware, investing in and partnering with cybersecurity company Rubrik.


This story has been updated with insights from Raymond James analysts.