Insight Bite: Proofpoint Acquires ObserveIT to Address Insider Threats

34 percent of all data breaches in 2018 were caused by insiders, according to a recent report by Verizon.

In a bid to remedy this, American cybersecurity firm Proofpoint has agreed to acquire Israeli insider threat management specialists ObserveIT for $225 million. 

ObserveIT’s insider threat management tool closely monitors how users are interacting with critical data to help prevent insider threat incidents before they occur.

As more companies adopt remote working practices, with staff members using different devices at various locations around the world, insider data loss prevention is becoming more challenging, fueling demand for the service offered by ObserveIT.

By bringing the two companies together, Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele says he wants to develop a security offering that can detect insider threat behaviour in a “post-perimeter, cloud-first world.”

“Defending data requires the ability to detect risky insider threat behavior and risky user activity, and swiftly mitigate risk across cloud apps, email, and endpoints.” said Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele in a statement. “We are the only security company that provides organisations with deep visibility into their most attacked people – and with ObserveIT, we will bring to market the first truly innovative enterprise DLP [Data Loss Prevention] offering in years.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, and Proofpoint’s cloud-based Information Protection suite will take on ObserveIT’s capabilities in 2020.

Proofpoint is one of several companies competing for a slice of the data protection market, which is one of the hottest segments of enterprise security software.  Increased competition is leading to consolidation as companies combine resources to get an edge on their competitors.

Proofpoint itself has made four acquisitions over the past four years, including Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup Meta Networks for $120 million, and cloud cybersecurity company FireLayers for $55 million. Elsewhere, Data management software firm Commvault acquired Swedish data startup Hedvig for $225 million in September.

Although insider threat software is still a relatively small part of the data protection market, demand is expected to grow as organisations gradually wake up to the threats coming from their own employees.

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