Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Barracuda Networks is biting into the security services market with its acquisition of Purewire, the 18-month-old juggernaut in cloud-based security.

The deal is a cash and stock transaction. Barracuda and Purewire are both private companies, and the value of the acquisition is not being disclosed.

Purewire, which provides Web filtering, content security and security traffic inspection services, will form the foundation of Barracuda’s expanded security as a service effort. Barracuda plans to expand its cloud-based security offerings to include e-mail, instant messaging and Web application firewalls. The services will complement the existing Barracuda line of content security and application firewall appliances, the companies said.

“This will not just leverage a particular menu of appliances or cloud, but a hybrid model, which we’ll make available in a matter of months,” said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management at Barracuda.

The acquisition of Purewire by any company is a bit of a surprise given its young age and the still relative immaturity of the security as a service marketplace. Purewire was launched in early 2008 by Mike Van Bruinisse (CEO) and security luminary Dr. Paul Judge (CTO) as a cloud-based content security alternative to companies such as Websense and Blue Coat. Van Bruinisse and Judge were key members of the team that built e-mail security appliance pioneer CipherTrust, which was sold to Secure Computing in 2006 for $274 million.

In the year since it started marketing publicly, Purewire has caught the attention of analysts, solution providers, managed service providers and end users. It’s racked up several product and technology awards, signed reseller agreements with major security integrators, and recently embarked on a program to provide its services through master managed service providers such as Proofpoint and Reflexion.

“People have been blown away by how much we’ve done, and as we went out for the next round of funding, we were amazed by the volume of business development discussions. Most of our discussions were more about mergers and acquisitions than funding,” said Van Bruinisse.

Van Bruinisse said Barracuda offered the best opportunity to accelerate the adoption of Purewire’s security as a service approach. Barracuda’s existing 85,000 customers and hundreds of partners will provide a platform for extending the Purewire capabilities to a broader base.

The Purewire management team will remain with Barracuda, which is launching a new cloud services division led by Judge. Van Bruinisse will head up Barracuda’s new enterprise sales program, which will leverage partners in delivering cloud security services and the company’s newly acquired phion enterprise firewall.