Symantec Corp. announced on January 12 that it is taking over 65 engineers and data scientists from Boeing's cybersecurity unit, Narus. Boeing will retain ownership of Narus' licenses and intellectual property, which will be licensed by Symantec. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

We have a price estimate of $24.59 for Symantec, which is marginally lower than its current market price.

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Narus to Boost Symantec's Big Data Capabilities

Narus, which was acquired by Boeing in 2010, specializes in internet-filtering software for intelligence agencies. Symantec has indicated that it hopes to utilize Narus for big data analytics to prevent, detect and remediate cyberattacks. Symantec’s massive global threat intelligence network collects information from millions of Norton and Symantec endpoints and 42 million attack sensors. It hopes to accelerate meaningful generation of information from this data by utilizing the expertise of the acquired firm in machine learning, security, big data analytics and networking.

Playing Catch-up in the Fast Moving World of Information Security

Symantec derives 62% of its total revenues from the information security business, comprising of 43% from consumer information security and 19% from enterprise information security. The company's revenues in the information security business have witnessed a decline in recent years despite the leadership position of its Norton Antivirus Suite. This is because the one-time thought leader in information security has failed to keep up with the fast-evolving nature of threats to enterprise as well as consumer information systems. (Read: Symantec's Revival: The Security Business Holds the Key).

In a bid to reinvigorate its information security business, Symantec announced in late 2014 that it is splitting its information security and information management (storage software) businesses into two separate companies. It has decided to keep the Symantec brand name and existing leadership with the information security business, indicating its renewed focus on its traditional strength.

The Narus acquisition has the potential to fast-track Symantec's revival of its information security business. The company was late to realize that the nature of information security has changed from prevention mechanisms to detection and response, and failed to keep up with nimbler competitors like Juniper Networks and FireEye. However, Symantec has now recognized the need of the hour and announced that it will create a new cyberattack response team and sell intelligence briefings for specific threats. Now with the acquisition of Narus, Symantec will gain additional firepower in converting big data to meaningful intelligence. This will provide a significant impetus to its threat detection and response capabilities.