May 17, 2020

Cybersecurity firm Sophos to be acquired for $3.9bn

Cyber Security
William Smith
2 min
Cybersecurity firm Sophos is to be acquired by US private equity firm Thomas Bravo
Cybersecurity firm Sophos is to be acquired by US private equity firm Thomas Bravo.

That’s according to the company’s press release, which details...

Cybersecurity firm Sophos is to be acquired by US private equity firm Thomas Bravo.

That’s according to the company’s press release, which details that Thomas Brave is offering $7.40 per share, for a total value of roughly $3.9bn. Sophos’ board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the deal in a forthcoming meeting.

Based in Abingdon in the UK, the company offers anti-virus software for the home, although its main focus is protecting enterprise. Products include firewalls, endpoint (such as laptops or mobiles) protection and cloud security. The company says it is employed by over 400,000 organizations across the world, and its offerings are guided by a threat intelligence team known as SophosLabs. Its products are integrated in a platform known as Sophos Central, and it emphasises its resistance to evolving methods of cyberattack such as malware and phishing.

Thomas Bravo is a specialist in technology investments, having acquired over 200 tech companies worth over $50bn.

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Sophos recently came to prominence with the WannaCry ransomware attack on the UK’s National Health Service, among others, which sent its share price rocketing. CEO Kris Hagerman was reported at the time as saying: “There are a lot of people calling us. We’re getting a lot of interest from customers. It’s a wakeup call to the whole world that we need to make IT security a top priority and need to redouble our efforts to get the basics right. If you don’t, the bad guys will find a way to get through.”

Alongside news of the intended acquisition, Hagerman said: “Today marks an exciting milestone in the ongoing journey of Sophos.Sophos is actively driving the transition in next-generation cybersecurity solutions, leveraging advanced capabilities in cloud, machine learning, APIs, automation, managed threat response, and more. We continue to execute a highly-effective and differentiated strategy, and we see this offer as a compelling validation of Sophos, its position in the industry and its progress.”

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Jun 8, 2021

Fastly's CDN Reportedly to Blame for Global Internet Outage

Technology
Fastly
servers
websites
Tilly Kenyon & Oliver James Fr...
3 min
Multiple outages have hit social media, government, and news websites across the globe

A huge outage has brought down a number of major websites around the world. Among those affected are gov.uk, Hulu, PayPal, Vimeo, and news outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times.

It is thought a glitch at Fastly ─ a popular CDN provider ─ is causing the worldwide issue. Fastly has confirmed it’s facing an outage on its status website but fails to specify a reason for the fault ─ only that the problem isn’t limited to a single data centre and, instead, is a “global CDN disruption” that is potentially affecting the company’s global network.

“We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services,” the firm said.

What is Fastly?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN) company that helps users view digital content more quickly. The company also provides security, video delivery, and so-called edge computing services. They use strategically distributed, highly performant POPs to help move data and applications closer to users and deliver up-to-date content quickly.

The firm has been proving increasingly popular among leading media websites. After going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, shares rose exponentially in price, but after today’s outages, Fastly’s value has taken a sharp 5.21% fall and are currently trading at US$48.06. 

What are CDNs?

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a web of small computers, or servers, that link together to collaborate as a single computer. CDNs improve the performance of internet-connected devices by placing these servers as close as possible to the people using those devices in different locations, creating hundreds of points of presence, otherwise known as POPs.

They help minimise delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. 

Without a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end-user request. This results in significant traffic to the origin and subsequent load, thereby increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are exceedingly high or if the load is persistent.

The Risk of CDNs

Over time, developers have attempted to protect users from the dangers of overreliance through the implementation of load balancing, DDoS (Denial of Service) protection, web application firewalls, and a myriad of other security features. 

Clearly, by the state of today’s major website outage, these measures aren’t enough. Evidently, CDNs present a risk factor that is widely underestimated ─ which needs to be rectified with haste. Content delivery networks have become a key part of the global infrastructure, and so it’s imperative that organisations start to figure out risk mitigation strategies to protect companies reliant on the interconnected service from further disruption and disarray. 

Over the coming days, both Technology Magazine and Data Centre Magazine will continue to provide updates on the current situation as developments are made.

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