BOMGAR, owned by PE firm Francisco Partners has recently announced that it has acquired Avecto, a UK based Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) company. The move coming within 6 months of Lieberman Software’s acquisition by BOMGAR clearly depicts the quest to strengthen its position in the PAM market by offering a full-featured PAM suite.
Originally a provider of ‘remote support’ solutions, BOMGAR offered remote session management capabilities in the market for a while until it acquired Argentina based Pitbull Software in late 2015 to enter the PAM market with its password management technology. Since then BOMGAR has been on an acquisition spree to expand its portfolio of PAM technologies to compete more effectively against the market leaders.
Avecto has been a market leader in the niche market of Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM). Its flagship product Avecto Defendpoint offers capabilities to manage threats associated with local administrative rights on windows and mac endpoints by offering controlled and monitored escalation of admin privileges. Avecto Defendpoint also offers effective application whitelisting and sandboxing capabilities for enhanced endpoint protection which has positioned it uniquely in the market with almost twice the number of managed endpoints than its closest competitor. For a couple of years before acquiring Viewfinity in late 2015, CyberArk embedded Defendpoint as a technology licensed through an OEM agreement with Avecto to sell a more complete PAM solution in the market for its customers and compete against then leading EPM product BeyondTrust PB for Windows.
Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) has become one of the fastest growing sub-segments of PAM market, closing in on approximately 28% YoY growth. With EPM capabilities, PAM solutions are poised to offer effective second-in-line defense mechanism for endpoint threat protection in coming years. The increased demand of better EPM capabilities embedded in PAM solutions has led many market leading vendors to acquire or develop their own EPM capabilities in the recent past. CyberArk, for example, acquired Viewfinity and Thycotic acquired Arellia in recent years to bring EPM capabilities in their PAM portfolios.
At KuppingerCole, we define EPM solutions to primarily offer three distinct technologies:
- Application Control: This allows organizations to control what applications can be allowed to run on an endpoint. This is usually achieved through application whitelisting in which only known good applications are placed on the pre-approved list and allowed to run. Application control provides effective protection against shadow IT challenges for most organizations.
- Sandboxing: This technology uses the approach to isolate the execution of unknown applications or programs by restricting the resources they can access (for eg., files, registries etc.). This technology, also known as application isolation, provides an effective protection against cyberattacks by confining the execution of malicious programs and limiting their means to cause the harm.
- Privilege Management: This technology encompasses user and application privilege management. For user privileged management, it deals with controlled and monitored elevation to local admin privileges. Application privilege management deals with exception or policy-based elevation of administrative rights for known and approved applications to execute successfully.
Avecto DefendPoint offers a good mix of these EPM technologies in the market to provide effective endpoint protection against a range of cyber threats. The acquisition of these EPM capabilities make a natural fit for BOMGAR offering great cross-sell opportunities in the short to mid-term. While their integration under a common PAM platform should begin soon, no immediate changes are expected to either product lines. In the short term, Avecto will continue to operate under the rebranded entity as Avecto, a BOMGAR company until its fully integrated into BOMGAR organization through the remainder of 2018.
The BOMGAR’s approach to obtain additional PAM capabilities through acquisitions is expected to bring rapid growth and deliver quick synergies but is also accompanied by the risks of integration failures and long-term effects of dampened organic growth. No doubt, the Lieberman Software’s and now Avecto’s acquisition places BOMGAR on the list of top 5 PAM vendors by revenue but not necessarily on the list of market leaders for technology innovation. As the PAM market continues to evolve, consolidation is inevitable, however, a stronger focus of vendors on completeness of features as compared to innovation in order to compete can stiffen the healthy market growth by failing to deliver on opportunities created by innovation.
While a clear integration roadmap for Lieberman Software was still awaited, the acquisition of Avecto adds to the growing pipeline of product and engineering teams to develop an integrated PAM platform to realize the essentials of these acquisitions. With a good track record of delivering growth and profitability as well as driving operational excellence, we expect BOMGAR to steer clear of any such challenges in the short to mid-term by delivering on the actual synergies created by these acquisitions.