Check Point Acquires Nokia Security Appliance Unit

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


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Check Point will buy the security appliance division from financially strapped Nokia for an undisclosed figure. The acquisition fills a critical hole in Check Point's hardware portfolio.

 Check Point Software Technologies announced this morning that it will acquire Nokia’s security appliance unit for an undisclosed price.

In September, Nokia made public plans to sell of its security appliance business to raise cash to buoy its troubled core telecommunications and handset business. The initial report pegged the buyer as an anonymous private equity firm.

Had Nokia sold to either an investment firm or another appliance vendor, it would have significantly hurt Check Point. For most of Check Point’s history, it’s solely produced the firewall and VPN software that’s loaded onto white boxes produced by partners. Its largest equipment partner is Nokia.

"As a pioneer in security appliances, the Nokia security appliance business has been an important strategic partner for Check Point and has helped us achieve early leadership in the security appliance market," said Check Point CEO Gil Shwed in a statement. "Adding Nokia’s security appliance portfolio into Check Point’s broad range of security solutions is the natural conclusion of our long collaboration, and will assure a smooth path forward for our mutual customers."

Check Point’s acquisition of the Nokia security appliance unit is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009, the company said.

The acquisition will give Check Point a significant boost in its appliance capacity. Analysts have long criticized Check Point for not adopting its own hardware portfolio to combat efforts made by security and networking rivals.

Check Point introduced its first unified threat management (UTM) device four years ago, but has mostly played laggard to efforts by Cisco Systems, Fortinet and SonicWall. For the better part of the decade, Check Point’s core enterprise firewall business has been under pressure by Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks (which acquired former rival NetScreen), which manufacture firewall and perimeter security devices.

A Check Point/Nokia combination could have significant benefits for Check Point solution providers, which have long complained about not having a hardware answer to offerings by Cisco and Juniper. Many Check Point partners make money off license renewals rather than net-new installations.

"Check Point is looking forward to expanding its security portfolio and to continuing to provide customers and partners with the industry’s most comprehensive line of security appliances," Shwed said.

Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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