F5 Networks to acquire Shape Security for $1bn

F5 Networks has announced its intention to acquire fraud and abuse prevention provider Shape Security, in a deal worth approximately $1 billion.

Specialising in the prevention of automated attacks, botnets, credential stuffing and targeted fraud, Shape Security had raised $183 million since its launch in 2011. On the closing of the deal, Shape Security’s 375 employees will be folded into F5, with its leadership team (including CEO and co-founder Derek Smith) taking on key management roles at F5.

“Since Shape’s inception, we observed a consistent pattern in customer after customer: the use of F5 technology to deliver and enable their applications,” said Smith in a press statement. “Now, we look forward to the opportunity to deeply integrate into F5’s platform for application delivery and security—F5 provides the optimum traffic flow insertion point for Shape’s industry-leading online fraud and abuse prevention solutions. This, combined with F5’s global go-to-market scale, means we can jointly protect significantly more customers’ applications and users from sophisticated attacks and malicious traffic.”

With many CISOs looking to consolidate their security stacks, while also struggling to differentiate meaningfully between providers, acquisitions like these seem a solid strategy.

The concept isn’t a new one by any means – fellow network security specialist Imperva announced in June its intention to acquire bot management company Distil Networks, in order to “create the most comprehensive security platform on the market”.

But the key to the billion-dollar price tag attached to this acquisition is likely down to more than just the added technological capabilities.

With cybersecurity increasingly becoming a board-level issue, and GDPR in particular having provided a much more material way to calculate potential losses than was previously available, budget is becoming less of an issue for CISOs.

On the other hand, time is becoming an even rarer commodity for them than it was before – so when it comes to security solutions, convenience is king.

For entirely new clients, the addition of Shape’s capabilities to F5’s WAF solution is likely to offer greater convenience in terms of implementation, configuration and monitoring than purchasing and implementing two separate solutions. But it’s a particularly appealing development for existing clients of one or both of the companies – and one which makes it considerably less likely they’ll consider switching providers anytime soon.

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

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