Cisco Systems is to acquire Observable Networks, a privately held US-based network security software firm. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close in the first fiscal quarter of 2018.
Observable has operated since 2011, and provides IT teams with cloud-native security tools which help to detect security breaches.
The company, last valued at about $16m, specialises in a technique called ‘endpoint modeling' that tracks the activity of smart devices that are connected to corporate networks. Organisations can use the tech to detect any unusual activity, which could point towards potential hacks or cyber-attacks.
Cisco says that Observable's forensics applications will be folded into its wider Stealthwatch solution, which the organisation intends to push into the cloud.
"The acquisition of Observable Networks supports Cisco's strategic transition toward software-centric solutions," Rob Salvagno, Cisco's head of mergers and acquisitions, wrote in the company's blog post announcing the news.
Observable is the latest in a number of acquisitions by Cisco in recent years, seeing the area as a key market for growth.
In 2015, the networking hardware giant bought OpenDNS for $635m, a relative startup founded by entrepreneur David Ulevitch. Ulevitch has gone on to lead Cisco's Security Business Group, which runs the Stealthwatch program.
Other similar acquisitions include Lancope for $453m and CloudLock for $293m.
The latest acquisition takes place against the growing threat of malicious hacking as cyber criminals turn to ransomware as a quick and easy way of making money, while the spillage of US National Security Agency exploits has highlighted how easy it is for a determined 'threat actor' to pick security holes in widely used software.
Cisco is not the only tech giant that has been buying cloud security companies: earlier this year, Microsoft bought Hexadite for $100 million, while Oracle bought Palerra for an undisclosed amount last September.
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