Cisco Systems paid $293 million in cash today to acquire a cloud security provider that provides visibility and analytics around user behavior and sensitive data in cloud services.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco acquired Waltham, Mass.-based CloudLock Inc., which specializes in cloud access security broker (CASB) technology. 

This marks Cisco's fourth acquisition this year and third related to cloud-based applications. It February, it acquired IoT platform Jasper for $1.4 billion and then immediately went to work building on the acquisition.

'Security Everywhere'

Cisco officials said the CloudLock acquisition expands on the company's Cisco’s Security Everywhere strategy, an effort to embed security into more control points across extended networks, from the enterprise infrastructure, to the data center, mobile, cloud and endpoints along with IoT industrialized environments.

CloudLock’s CASB technology can help companies monitor user behavior and sensitive data in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, such as Office365, Google Drive and Salesforce. Cisco officials said.

"CloudLock’s unique cloud-first, platform and API-based approach means that they’re able to deliver an incredibly detailed level of understanding of how users are sharing data, what’s being shared, and potential security risks associated with sensitive information that shouldn’t be distributed," Rob Salvagno, vice president of corporate business development and head of Cisco’s M&A and venture investment team, said in a blog post. "They do this while remaining invisible to an end user who is accessing the cloud."

CloudLock joins Cisco’s networking and security business group under Senior Vice President and General Manager David Goeckeler. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Learning Opportunities

IaaS, PaaS Coverage

Salvagno noted CloudLock can help protect data and enforce access rules when an employee tries to access sensitive data stored in a SaaS application from an unprotected device. It provides, he said, "security anywhere, anytime for content in the cloud." CloudLock extends these security controls to the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) layers.

"'Buy' has been a key part of our innovation strategy, alongside significant internal product development, to drive toward a fully integrated security portfolio," Salvagno said. "Today’s announcement builds on three quarters of consecutive revenue growth in Cisco’s security business. We have expanded our security footprint with milestone acquisitions including Lancope, OpenDNS, Sourcefire."

CloudLock has raised about $35 million in four financing rounds, according to CrunchBase.

It's not the only CASB provider scooped up lately. Microsoft acquired Adallom last September. It's a category that's red hot, according to some.