Sunday, July 11, 2010

Network Building

Aviation Week & Space Technology Jul 12 , 2010 , p. 35
Neelam Mathews
New Delhi
Michael Mecham
San Francisco

Boeing acquires a second company to boost its cyber-security business
Printed headline: Network Building

Boeing Network & Space Systems is adding to its command, cyber-security and intelligence network portfolio with its second acquisition in as many weeks.

For an undisclosed sum, the company is to acquire privately held Narus, a Sunnyvale, Calif., specialist in real-time network traffic and analytics software to help it expand into commercial network accounts, such as in telecoms and energy, while continuing to build its government networks and cyber-security portfolio.

On June 30, Boeing tendered an all-cash offer valued at $775 million for Argon ST of Fairfax, Va., a sensors, communications technologies and information management specialist. Narus’s analytical strengths will complement Argon’s capabilities “to build a world-class scalable state-of-the-art cyber security” business base, says Networks & Space Systems President Roger Krone.

As it had with Argon, Krone says Narus’s skills came to Boeing’s attention because it employed the California company “on a variety of technology projects.” Boeing’s biggest concern has been the protection of its own international computer network, which Krone describes as the world’s sixth largest, against malicious attack.

“In both the case of Argon and Narus, we got to the point where there were so many nice linkages between where we are and where they are going that it worked well” to acquire them, he says.

Narus’s network-centric technology will be applied to Boeing’s smart-grid energy work and the secure networking of its ground, air and space products in both the U.S. and abroad.

“We are most interested in [Narus’s] people and product, but its global footprint makes it straightforward to address global customers,” Krone says. “Narus plays in the domain more than Boeing has traditionally participated in it. So [Narus] allows Boeing to leverage products and services it provides [government] into the”

Krone says Narus has four or five top commercial customers that account for half its revenue. “Once a customer uses the Narus product, they tend to go very deep with it,” he notes.

About half of Narus’s 150 employees are in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India, where the government has been struggling with cyber-security threats. Boeing expects to combine its own abilities in modeling and simulation work with Narus’s design and security skills in networking as it pursues the India market, says Dinesh Keskar, president of Boeing India.

Keskar says that pursuit is unfolding. A state visit of President Barack Obama to India, now set for November, is expected to be accompanied by a relaxation of U.S. export controls that will ease Boeing’s way in network-centric businesses, he notes.

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