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Cybersecurity giant Check Point acquires Israeli startup to protect cloud emails

Founded in 2015 in Tel Aviv, Avanan protects emails and cloud collaboration solutions like G-Suite and Slack from cyberattacks

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Check Point CEO Gil Shwed speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. announced on Monday that it is acquiring Israeli startup Avanan, a provider of cloud email security.

The Israeli-founded firm did not disclose the financial details of the transaction, but said the deal is set to close imminently. According to Israeli business daily Globes, the agreement is valued at between $270-$280 million in cash and stocks.

Founded in 2015, Avanan built a cloud-native platform that identifies advanced attacks that may evade existing security tools and provides a multi-layer defense for cloud collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, G-Suite, and Slack. The company said in a statement that it has over 5,000 global clients and protects some 2.5 million inboxes.

The technology will integrate with Check Point’s threat prevention software capabilities “to deliver the world’s most secure email security offering” and protect remote workforces “from malicious files, URLs and phishing across email, collaboration suites, web, network, and endpoint,” the firm said in a statement.

With 95% of cyberattacks targeting enterprise networks caused by successful phishing, the cloud email threat landscape has never been wider, Check Point said. The number of phishing attacks doubled in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the mass adoption of remote working environments has fueled the adoption of cloud office systems and the use of other collaboration suites beyond email, like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and OneDrive, expanding users’ exposure and vulnerabilities, the statement said.

This expanded threat landscape, Check Point said, “requires a new approach to email security since conventional solutions built for on-premises email have failed to adapt for the cloud.”

The Avanan team in Israel. Avanan is being acquired by cybersecurity multinational Check Point Software Technologies. (Courtesy)

Dorit Dor, Check Point’s chief product officer, said, “More and more businesses are moving to cloud-email platforms and with email becoming a major channel to launch devastating cyber attacks, this acquisition represents a huge potential as organizations are looking for a new approach to email and collaboration suite security.

By integrating Avanan into Check Point, “organizations will be able to modernize legacy solutions with email security-as-a-service and protect cloud email and collaboration suites from the most sophisticated attacks,” she added, indicating that Check Point has been using Avanan’s technology as an OEM for the last three years.

This is Check Point’s sixth acquisition in the past three years. In September 2020, the company bought Tel Aviv-based Odo Security, a developer of a cloud-based technology that allows secure remote access, for about $30 million.

Avanan co-founder and CEO Gil Friedrich said that by integrating with Check Point, “We are combining Avanan’s best in class AI that catches the sophisticated email-borne attacks everyone else misses, with Check Point Software’s unparalleled security capabilities and threat intelligence.”

Based in Tel Aviv, Avanan was founded by Friedrich, Avi Zelovic, Roy Rotem, and Michael J Landewe, and employs over 100 employees in the US and Israel. The startup has raised over $40 million with Israeli investors, according to the Start-Up Nation Central finder database.

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