Analysis of SonicWall’s acquisition of enKoo

* What SonicWall’s acquisition of enKoo means for the company

SSL VPN companies have been getting bought up for a while, and for the second time one SSL vendor is buying up another.

SonicWall is buying enKoo as a way to jump-start its two-month-old foray into SSL VPNs. The other example of one SSL VPN company buying another was AEP’s acquisition of Netilla earlier this year in an effort to both add features and bulk up its customer list.

Some might say getting into SSL VPNs this late is big trouble, given that some vendors have been selling the products for more than two years and that major networking vendors with long customer lists and big financial reserves have either developed or acquired the technology. There are plenty of well-established vendors out there already, making it that much tougher to be the new kid.

But SonicWall has found itself a niche selling firewalls and IPSec VPNs to small and midsized businesses, and has newer platforms that look for a range of threats including viruses, spyware, phishing and spam. The addition of SSL VPN support is a natural addition for a vendor customers look to for secure remote access.

The choice of enKoo makes sense in that both companies try to sell to the same size customers and enKoo has features in its gear that SonicWall lacks. EnKoo also comes with a half-dozen engineers that SonicWall can use on its SSL development team.

The bottom line for SonicWall is that it will immediately have gear with the combined features of its own products and enKoo's, which have been in development for more than a year. Overall, then, customers will have a better product to consider when they weigh vendors.

SonicWall will continue to support enKoo customers, but will stop selling new enKoo boxes immediately. SonicWall says it will offer customers deals if they buy SonicWall replacements.

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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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