In its quest to add to its Zero Trust edge (ZTE), also known as secure access service edge (SASE), portfolio, Forcepoint acquired cloud security gateway (CSG), also known as cloud access security broker (CASB), provider Bitglass for a Forrester-estimated $200-300 million last week.

Beyond the usual criteria (ability to retain marketing and development talent of Bitglass), the success of this acquisition will depend on the following: 

  • How Forcepoint can merge the ex-Skyfence and native Forcepoint assets with Bitglass’ IP. The interesting aspect of the acquisition is that Forcepoint already acquired a CSG vendor, Skyfence, in 2017. The vendor integrated the Skyfence CSG capabilities into its legacy Data Loss Prevention (DLP) offering. With significant overlap between these and Bitglass’ CSG/CASB intellectual property, Forcepoint will face a double integration whammy trying to merge all codebases into a viable CSG solution. 
  • Forcepoint’s commitment to build an integrated ZTE offering. Forcepoint’s current ZTE suite components (secure remote access, for example) are not quite ready for prime time and will require additional Forcepoint development efforts to make them viable.
  • How Forcepoint can integrate on-premises and cloud/CSG DLP capabilities. For reliable, unstructured data protection, organizations should have an end-to-end DLP strategy covering data, DLP policies, and reporting in 1) mobile devices and applications, 2) on-premises applications and email, and 3) cloud applications. The Forcepoint acquisition points in this direction.

What the Bitglass acquisition signals is Forcepoint’s major investor, Francisco Partners, doubling down on Forcepoint’s “data-centric” Zero Trust edge strategy to leap forward to where enterprises are going to be a few years from now. Forcepoint’s challenge will be to not abandon the federal space, from which its heritage derives, while doing so.

The acquisition demonstrates that Francisco Partners is willing to invest in solutions that bolster the Forcepoint portfolio and support the vendor’s Zero Trust ambitions. Security leaders invested in Forcepoint should push the vendor to understand how Bitglass will fit into the portfolio and impact the solutions they have deployed.