Cloud Security , Security Operations

Cisco to Buy Startup Valtix to Guard Workloads Across Clouds

Valtix Purchase Will Help Clients Enforce Policies Across Public Cloud Environments
Cisco to Buy Startup Valtix to Guard Workloads Across Clouds

Cisco plans to purchase cloud security startup Valtix to simplify network security and protect workloads no matter which cloud they're created or consumed in.

See Also: Cloud Network Security: The Role of Software Firewalls

"We are proud to have built a truly revolutionary product in networking and cloud security."
– Praveen Patnala, vice president of engineering, Valtix

The San Jose, California-based networking giant says its proposed acquisition of Valtix will give clients common policy and enforcements of networking across all major public cloud environments. San Jose-based Valtix will join Cisco's security business unit and help deliver a seamless experience securing workloads across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

"The security controls that govern these disparate clouds, however, work in isolation," Cisco Security Chief Product Officer Raj Chopra wrote in a blog post late Friday. "These siloes create an issue with visibility, which in turn leads to an issue of efficacy (you can't protect what you can't see), which creates a substantial operational burden for security teams."

Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by April 30, weren't disclosed. Cisco's stock was down $0.08 - or 0.17% - to $48.48 per share in after-hours trading. The Valtix acquisition was announced after the market closed Friday (see: Jeetu Patel on Having a Consistent Design at Cisco Security).

'It's Extremely Hard to Earn the Trust of Early Customers'

Valtix was founded in 2018, employs 37 people and has raised $26.5 million in two rounds of outside funding. The company's most recent funding round in January 2021 was co-led by Cisco's venture capital arm. Valtix was co-founded by Vishal Jain, Vijay Chander and Praveen Patnala, who have worked at several firms acquired by Cisco, including Insieme Networks, Nuova Systems, Embrane and Andiamo Systems.

"At Valtix, we are proud to have built a truly revolutionary product in networking and cloud security," writes Patnala, Valtix's vice president of engineering, on LinkedIn. "It's extremely hard to earn the trust of early customers to use an inline product from a startup in front of their business apps. We earned this over time, and I wish to thank our customers who had faith in us, the team and our technology."

Patnala compared getting customers to adopt Valtix to a database startup attempting to get customers to replace their favorite relational database management system with a new piece of equipment. Chander says some of Valtix's customers became design partners while others adopted the company's technology on a very large scale, deploying the product to run around-the-clock.

"I started with a dream - build a cloud-native network security platform delivered as a service," writes Chander, Valtix's chief technology officer, in a LinkedIn post Friday. "For any dream to become a reality, it takes a village to hitch themselves to the ride with trust and faith."

Cisco's First Notable Security Acquisition Since 2021

Jain served as Valtix's CEO from the company's establishment in February 2018 until September 2020 and again from August 2022 until the present. From September 2020 to August 2022, Valtix was led by former Big Switch Networks CEO Douglas Murray, and Jain served as chief technology officer. Murray left Valtix more than five months ago to become CEO of network management software provider Auvik.

"Cisco plans to grow the Valtix solution and enable us to tap into rich integrations across its end-to-end security portfolio," Jain writes in a LinkedIn post Friday. "I (and my co-founders) will bring focus to drive Valtix technology and the team going forward in Cisco's security cloud efforts."

Cisco's Chopra says the network is the one place where all the traffic that flows between applications and from applications to users can be seen. For this reason, he says, the network is the only place with the visibility, telemetry and policy enforcement necessary for consolidated, consistent security.

Valtix has been focused on removing the security barriers to enterprise cloud adoption by making inline network security simple and automatic. The company's platform automatically discovers new applications running in the cloud and follows these applications to ensure the right inline security rules and protections are applied.

Valtix is the first significant acquisition for Cisco’s $3.7 billion security business since the company bought vulnerability management vendor Kenna Security in June 2021 to help customers more effectively prioritize vulnerabilities based on threat intelligence and business impact. Prior to that, Cisco purchased multifactor authentication vendor Duo Security for $2.35 billion in October 2018.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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