In terms of the kind of sums that are being tossed about in recent acquisition play, CA Technologies’ (news, site) agreement to pay US $200 million for Arcot, an identity authentication and fraud prevention vendor, would be minor play if it didn’t take the software giant one step closer to its stated goal of becoming the cloud security player on the market.

In fact, if you look back at CA’s activities over the past six months, all its moving and shaking has been with this in mind, whether it was the decision to divest itself of its governance software portfolio to Autonomy (news, site) in June this year, or its decision to buy cloud monitoring vendor Nimsoft for US $350 million in March of this year.

CA’s Cloud Ambitions

All of it is leading to the same place and by the speed that CA is looking to close this Arcot deal -- they want it wound up by September 30 -- it seems that they can’t get to that market position quick enough.

The first public indication that it was going to focus its efforts on cloud management came with the purchase of Nimsoft (news, site)

Nimsoft is a solutions monitoring vendor and with it the NY-based giant said at the time that the acquisition would open up a whole new customer base of midmarket/emerging enterprises and management service providers (MSPs).

Also at the time, Trac Research, a business-to-business market research and analyst company that specializes in IT performance management, published a short report that analyzed the deal and looks to where CA might be going with it. Entitled CA Acquires Nimsoft: More Than Cloud And Mid-Market Play? it says:

The acquisition immediately strengthened CA’s position in the mid-market, while allowing them to grow their managed service provider business … Over the last two years, CA did a good job of gradually changing its reputation from a company that is making acquisitions just to improve its revenue stream … to a vendor that has a very clear vision, and it is buying only the missing pieces to a large puzzle they had envisioned.”

From a technology point of view, Trac says CA acquired one of the most advanced solutions in the market for monitoring the cloud and from the market point of view it strengthens their position in mid-market allowing them to grow their managed service provider business in this sector.

CA and Arcot

And Arcot fits nicely into this slot. Its identity and fraud prevention software complements CA’s Arcot's products for add advanced authentication and fraud prevention and are complementary to CA's Siteminder portfolio of identity and access management offerings.

This is all with a view to bolstering its cloud management and security strategy. In a statement issued by CA outlining its reasoning behind the buy, it said Arcot would provide the on-ramp to accelerate its delivery of Identity Authentication Management (IAM) solutions as a comprehensive service from the cloud.

The CA Technologies cloud security strategy is a three-fold approach: enable organizations to extend existing on-premises IAM systems to support cloud applications and services; provide IAM technology to cloud providers to secure their services – whether public, private or hybrid; and enable IAM services from the cloud”

And it has been pursuing this strategy with some vigour over the past months. In February it bought 3Tera, a cloud platform vendor, in March it bought cloud monitoring with Nimsoft, earlier this month it bought virtualization vendor 4Base, and now with Arcot it has covered one of the last bases in identity security. Last year, it bought NetQoS and Cassatt -- all aimed at extending its cloud management services.

Once closed, Arcot will join the CA SiteMinder portfolio to enhance its tools designed to reduce risk, secure business transactions.