SafeNet tops among fast-growth companies

Security vendor moves from No. 3 on fastest-growing NW200 list in '03 to No. 1 this year.

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Security firm SafeNet has seen business boom over the last few years as organizations of all sizes recognize the importance of steeling their networks against intruders. The company, founded 22 years ago by two engineers from the U.S. government's National Security Agency, had a particularly strong year in 2004, thanks in large part to its acquisition of Rainbow Technologies, which tripled the company's revenue base, according to SafeNet CEO Tony Caputo.

Revenue jumped 205% to $202 million in 2004, up from $66 million a year earlier. Those results made SafeNet the fastest-growing Network World 200 company and pushed it from No. 175 on the NW200 in 2003 to No. 129 this year. Even without the acquisition, SafeNet's growth has averaged about 45% per year over the past few years, Caputo notes.

SafeNet specializes in encryption technology including chips, hardware and software for uses as broad as SSL acceleration, encryption for classified applications and VPNs. It also integrates its technologies into custom packages for customers. About half the company's business comes from government agencies - not surprising given its NSA roots.

"Customers are becoming more attuned to the need for strong security and they are beginning to be able to differentiate between what we are providing and what a lot of other companies provide, which is good security, but not government- or world-class, financial-institution-grade security," Caputo says.

SafeNet intends to pursue more enterprise customers, where demand for high-level network security is growing as a result of changing business practices and government regulations, Caputo says.

"Through the late '90s and early into this decade, we've focused on reaching enterprise customers through our technology partners, but that's likely to change as we go forward," Caputo says. "We are a much stronger company; we have good revenue size, a strong balance sheet. We're profitable, and a larger percentage of our growth going forward will come from the general enterprise market."

The fastest-growing NW200 companies
Company 2004 revenue ($M) Rev ’03-’04 % chg NW200 rank
Research in Motion1,156145%62
Savvis Commuications 617144%79
Sierra Wireless211108%125
Juniper 1,33690%55
Fastest-growing NW200 companies with revenue of more than $500 million
Research in Motion 1,156145%62
Savvis Commuications617144%79
Broadwing 672114%76
Belden CDT96655%66
ADC Telecommunications89153%69
Symantec 2,42742%41
Network Appliance1,48338%50
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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.