Imperva to acquire Distil Networks

Imperva announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement to acquire bot management company Distil Networks. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Distil Networks had raised $59 million since being founded in 2011, and has made two acquisitions of its own, buying Sentor ScrapeSentry in December 2015 and Are You A Human in May 2017. Imperva itself was acquired less than a year ago by Thoma Bravo, which has an impressive track record investing in cybersecurity companies.  

We believe Imperva and Distil Networks will create the most comprehensive security platform on the market and we’re excited to make this available to our customers worldwide.

Chris Hylen, CEO, Imperva

The company specialises in detection and mitigation of bots – a task often done manually by in-house IT staff using tools such as CAPTCHA, IP blocking/rate limiting, and log analysis. As the volume and sophistication of bot-enabled attacks grows, however, many are turning to third party tools and automated detection to help make the workload more manageable.

“Bots are an evolving attack vector that has become a threat to all organizations, no matter the size or location,” said Tiffany Olson Kleeman, Distil Networks’ CEO. “We have been leading the charge to find solutions to better understand, detect and mitigate automated attacks since 2011. Today’s announcement serves as a testament to the ingenuity and dedication of Distil Networks’ team over the past eight years to solve this problem for our customers. We are excited to enter into a new chapter with a company that shares our passion for protecting critical business applications and delivering best-in-class security solutions for all customers.”

Application security, to which preventing bots from committing fraud, abuse and DoS-style attacks is critical, is a key element of Imperva’s own services. The ultimate aim is to integrate Distil Networks’ solution into Imperva’s own application security solution, and to bring on most of its workforce as well.

In an interview, Distil Networks’ chief product and strategy officer and co-founder Rami Essaid explained that the company had been having difficulty competing with ‘one stop shop’ vendors.

“We were finding it harder and harder to compete as a point solution, outside of being a platform, so we started looking for a platform partner that we could be a part of to continue our journey, and to continue to do what we do best without having to build an entire platform ourselves,” he said.

Essaid isn’t wrong – several studies, including our own, have demonstrated that cybersecurity teams are struggling to manage the size and diversity of towering stacks of best-in-breed solutions, and would prefer to consolidate where possible. But we also found that participants prioritised effectiveness over convenience, and many stated the importance of ‘defence in depth’ and building up security architecture that focused on their company’s greatest assets and threats.

While consolidation is pretty inevitably the future of the cybersecurity solution market, it also points to one of the big challenges for security architects. Cybersecurity companies, particularly those aimed at solving ‘point problems’, are being invented, acquired, sold off, and going out of business almost too fast to keep track of. In this case, while Distil Networks customers “will have the opportunity to become Imperva customers”, the product is to be integrated into a more multi-purpose platform – so clients who don’t currently have an Imperva-sized gap in their security stack will have some architectural decisions to make.

However, existing Imperva customers and those of Distil Networks’ clients who’ll be onboarded as part of the acquisition are set to benefit from the move, which Imperva hopes will allow it to deliver ‘the most comprehensive security platform on the market’.

“Distil Networks is a globally recognized leader in automated attack mitigation, and this deal perfectly aligns with our vision of delivering best-in-class cybersecurity solutions that protect businesses throughout their cloud journey,” said Chris Hylen, Imperva’s CEO.

“Distil Networks gives us a comprehensive Bot Management solution that identifies, responds to and manages a full range of automated attacks no matter where these applications or APIs are deployed. We believe Imperva and Distil Networks will create the most comprehensive security platform on the market and we’re excited to make this available to our customers worldwide.”

Researcher, writer, recovering medievalist. Currently particularly interested in the cybersecurity solutions market, cyber insurance/risk modelling, and IoT security.

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