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Email security heavyweight Proofpoint has been expanding its remit into contiguous areas such as social media, file-sharing sites, and other software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. Its latest foray is into secure remote access via its acquisition of Meta Networks, which offered software-defined perimeter (SDP) technology as a cloud-based service.

SDP is a replacement for VPN technology

Proofpoint is a major name in email security. It started life scanning emails and attachments for malware and malicious links, and in 2018 it added training for customers to defend against phishing attacks with its acquisition of Wombat Security.

Email remains a huge security vector as threat actors find new and ingenious ways to fool enterprise users into opening up their employers' networks via ever-craftier emails. However, in recent years Proofpoint has expanded beyond email, starting with social media security with its acquisition of Nexgate in 2014.

In 2016 it added security in SaaS applications, though not with one of the cloud access security brokers (CASBs) that many other security players were acquiring at the time. Instead it bought FireLayers, which brought it the ability to block things like malware in file sync-and-share websites, as well as malicious links in CVs posted to human capital management sites.

Now it has ventured even further with the acquisition of Meta, which takes it into the world of SDP. This is an implementation of the zero trust approach to security, specifically for remote access, and is a replacement for virtual private network (VPN) technology. Most SDP vendors sell the technology for customers to deploy themselves, but Meta created a network from which to deliver an SDP service, an approach also adopted by companies such as Akamai and Zscaler.

It remains to be seen how Proofpoint will further leverage the Meta infrastructure, but this is already an interesting move as SDP itself builds a head of steam.


Further reading

Zero trust gains currency at RSA 2019, INT003-000344 (March 2019)

On the Radar: Pulse Secure delivers zero trust secure access, INT003-000324 (February 2019)

On the Radar: Zscaler Private Access provides application-specific access to remote users, IT0022-001075 (September 2017)

"Symantec enters next-gen remote access with Luminate buy," INT003-000328 (February 2019)


Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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