Cisco (CSCO) has announced that it plans to acquire cloud-based advanced threat IT security provider OpenDNS for $635 million in cash in a deal. So just what does it mean IT service provider partners? We've got the scoop.

An FAQ on the OpenDNS website pointed out that Cisco has been a longtime supporter and an investor in OpenDNS.

"We are still selling and supporting our products. We’re all on the same page here, committed to making sure that what makes OpenDNS so great stays intact, and that includes the team," the company said in its FAQ. OpenDNS also said that its product and platform innovation efforts would be amplified due to contributions from the larger Cisco security team.

OpenDNS has been a fixture in the MSP and IT service provider market with its Umbrella service, and the company has forged strong alliances here. For instance, OpenDNS is a vendor member of the HTG Peer Groups.

OpenDNS Senior Product Manager Dima Kumets told Penton that while he couldn't comment on the deal specifically, the news is good for partners. "OpenDNS is deeply committed to the MSP business and the success of our partners. We will continue to invest in the space and grow our managed service provider program," he said.

Cisco said that the OpenDNS team will join the Cisco Security Business Group organization led by David Goeckeler, SVP and GM.

Details of the deal

Cisco did say that in addition to the cash paid for the company, the cost of the deal to Cisco includes assumed equity awards and retention-based incentives (it's paying out bonuses to key contributors at OpenDNS to stay with the company). Cisco said that the acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, which means the deal should close by the end of October 2015, based on Cisco’s fiscal calendar. Both companies are based in the San Francisco Bay area with OpenDNS in San Francisco and Cisco in San Jose.

What Cisco expects to get from OpenDNS

Cisco said the acquisition will boost its own Security Everywhere approach by adding broad visibility and threat intelligence from the OpenDNS cloud delivered platform.

In announcing the deal, Cisco also pointed to what it calls the Internet of Everything (IoE), and what others call the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco said this trend is expected to spur the connection of nearly 50 billion devices by 2020, accelerating the potential for security breaches across networks. Protecting those networks is a gigantic job that requires the right approach.

Cisco pointed to several benefits of OpenDNS’ approach in this new era including the additional protections that come with predictive threat intelligence and the speed of deployment that comes from a cloud-based solution.

Cisco's perspective

"As more people, processes, data and things become connected, opportunities for security breaches and malicious threats grow exponentially when away from secure enterprise networks," said Hilton Romanski, Cisco chief technology and strategy officer, in a prepared statement. "OpenDNS has a strong team with deep security expertise and key technology that complements Cisco's security vision. Together, we will help customers protect their extended network wherever the user is and regardless of the device."

Are you an OpenDNS partner? Let us know what you think of the Cisco deal in the comments below.