Barracuda expands Zero Trust capabilities with acquisition of Fyde

Fyde is probably best known as the maker of a free app which provides Zero Trust secure access to iOS and Android users, but they also have a commercial product, which is being rebranded as Barracuda CloudGen Access. It will be available to MSP partners in a few weeks once it has been engineered for multi-tenancy.

Today, cybersecurity vendor Barracuda is announcing the acquisition of Fyde, a Zero Trust Network Access [ZTNA] provider based in Palo Alto, and originally out of Porto, Portugal. Fyde’s technology will be rebranded as Barracuda CloudGen Access, and will expand the Barracuda CloudGen SASE platform with ZTNA capabilities. The offering will launch today to partners who don’t need multi-tenancy. It is slated for MSP availability by early January. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zero Trust is a relatively new space for Barracuda. They first entered the space in July with the launch of the  Barracuda CloudGen WAN service, a secure SD-WAN service built natively on Microsoft Azure, in close collaboration with Microsoft, to run inside Azure Virtual WAN Hubs.

“This SD-WAN in partnership with Azure was our first entry into the Zero Trust category, but we have been in the networking security space for a long time,” said Brian Babineau, SVP & GM at Barracuda MSP. “As part of that portfolio, we have secure access VPN. We get a lot of feedback from customers there, where you have far more people now accessing cloud applications. When we looked to expand our Zero Trust to applications, we looked at organizations fulfilling that use case, and not just at an enterprise level.  Fyde has had a unique approach. They sell directly to some large companies, but they also have a freemium model where the free apps provide them with feedback they use to improve the product.”

That freemium model, and the apps available in both the Apple Store and Google Play, is what Fyde is likely best known for. Babineau also said that experience in the consumer space, particularly the ability to run on mobile at scale and handle a good-sized install base of customers, was a significant part of Barracuda’s decision to focus on acquiring Fyde, in a market which has no shortage of startups.

“They had experience in using their technology as part of a broader solution,” Babineau noted. “That history was attractive to us. The technology is also easy for the customer to deploy. You don’t need an IT staff to make it successful. That’s important for us, to be able to provide a powerful outcome without a massive operational burden.”

The Fyde commercial solution – now Barracuda CloudGen Access – provides secure remote mobile access by continuously verifying that only the right person, with the right device, and the right permissions, can  connect to corporate applications deployed in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. It enables secure single sign-on to SaaS applications, and secure access to applications from BYOD devices, even simultaneously for apps located on-premises and on multiple clouds. It also provides mobile device security monitoring and protection against malicious websites.

Babineau described what Fyde does as VPN augmentation, rather than VPN replacement.

“You will still have workers with a singular device, but this is an expansion of the VPN concept for those who are outside of the VPN-connected world,” he said.

Before being acquired, Fyde sold to a broad range of customers, from the free consumer product, through small business through the enterprise. Babineau said that user behavior, rather than company size, will definitely determine the market for Barracuda CloudGen Access going forward.

“There are no lines of demarcation on size,” he stated. “It’s having an organizational profile of customers with a growing use of cloud-based applications. There are lots of SMBs now using cloud-based resources too.

“It’s definitely more about the use case,” said Chris Crellin, Senior Director of Product Management at Barracuda MSP. “As people have gone more to Work From Home, they use more resources beyond the corporate laptop.”

One thing that will change, however, is the interaction of Fyde’s product with the channel. They have basically sold direct until now both to businesses and to consumers.

“There has been very limited channel engagement so far,” Babineau said. “That will change with Barracuda and our channel-first philosophy.”

For Barracuda’s MSP partners, there will be a bit of a wait to get the product however. That’s because Fyde never designed their product to be multi-tenanted, and Barracuda has to do that engineering themselves before it can be a seamless MSP offering.

“It is available for partners today if they don’t need a multi-tenanted version,” Crellin said. “For the MSP side, we expect the multi-tenanted launch early next year, in January. We are acutely aware of MSPs’ need to be able to manage their customers, and we will make sure it will be ready for that.”
“The unique MSP requirements can be met pretty quickly,” Babineau added.

How will the Fyde consumer model play out in the future? Babineau said that one thing that is certain is they aren’t going to use a Freemium model for Barracuda CloudGen Access. The solutions on the app stores have already been rebranded with the new Barracuda name, and remain available there.

“We will continue to support mobile devices,” he said. “That’s how Fyde got such availability, that experience, We are still getting feedback on the consumer model and what we will do with that. We haven’t made any decisions based on this early stage. There’s more to come there.”