Who Wants Juniper’s Enterprise Businesses?

What’s worse than when the sharks are circling about a beleaguered company? When the sharks aren’t circling at all. That’s apparently the case for Juniper Networks, which came to the RSA conference with a plan to beef up its enterprise security products with RSA’s technology.

According to Reuters, Juniper began shopping its businesses last fall, trying to drum up interest in assets such as NetScreen (acquired in 2004 for $4 billion). But buyers turned up their noses, the wire reported, because “Juniper’s enterprise-oriented assets lacked innovation and growth.” While Juniper has been mentioned as a possible acquisition target for EMC, but that rumor ended up shot down by EMC chief executive Jim Tucci.

Part of Juniper’s plan to make itself more attractive may have been on display at the RSA Conference, named for (and run by) EMC’s security division.

Juniper has indicated that enterprise networking and security products will be the focus for 2013. It announced Juno Spotlight Secure, a global database of attackers that Juniper will layer atop its various network products; Junos Spotlight will also incorporate attacker data from RSA. Junos Spotlight creates a hardware fingerprint of the attacker and attempts to identify the attacking device, rather than focus on the IP address; Juniper then shares the data.

“We have to do a better job cooperating” as an industry to leverage all of the threat intelligence gathered today, Art Coviello, chief executive of RSA, told Dark Reading. “We can’t just rely on internal data: We need external data as well. If criminals and rogue actors can get together, why can’t the good guys?”

Juniper’s SRX series of services gateways will be among the first to use the new Junos Spotlight solution, which provide antivirus, antispam, URL filtering, firewall/VPN and AppSecure protection to the data center. The Junos technology will also be added to Juniper’s anti-DDOS protection, Junos DDOS Secure.

Finally, Junos Spotlight Secure will be added to WebApp Secure, also known as “Mykonos,” which sits in front of the application software and attempts to detect hackers while they’re reconnoitering the network. That technology aims to “irritate the hell out of an attacker, and convince him to leave,” a product manager said at the RSA conference. Once detected via “tar trap” code that WebAppSecure injects into the Web site, the software slows down attacker connections, asks for CAPTCHA confirmations, and even displays a “Clippy”-style character to taunt the attacker.

The Junos attacker-identification technology will also eventually become part of Juniper’s SDN play, which is just beginning to roll out with its management technology, Junos Space Security Director.

Juniper reported a profit of $95.7 million on revenues of $1.14 billion in the fourth quarter. Profits were roughly flat versus a year ago, and revenue rose slightly. But in the face of challenges from Cisco and Palo Alto Networks, it looks like Juniper’s future remains in doubt. The question in Wall Street’s mind is whether the company’s datacenter businesses can go out with a bang, or a whimper.


Image: Juniper