Austin-based cybersecurity firmannounced this morning it has agreed to be acquired by Experian for $360 million in cash. The deal still has to be approved by regulators, but would add CSID’s suite of identity protection software to Experian’s North American consumer services division.
CSID President and Co-Founder Joe Ross (pictured above) wrote in a blog post on the company’s website that breaches of personally identifiable consumer data have increased more than three fold in the company’s 10 year history.
“With more businesses storing customer data and more consumers sharing personal information online, we don’t expect [high-profile breaches] to go away any time soon,” he said. “This is why today’s announcement of the sale of CSID to Experian is great news not only for our employees and shareholders but also for businesses and consumers.”
Businesses and consumers comprise approximately 10 million users of CSID’s software, which Ross promised will only become stronger and ever more compelling under the Experian brand.
What they do
CSID uses patented technology to patrol the internet for illegal trading of personal information. It provides a range of services, including credit data, to notify consumers of potential abuse of their identities and that their digital identity information is being actively sold or traded on the internet.
In layman’s terms, CSID is the company that provides credit monitoring — among other services — after your personal information is compromised by hackers or inadvertently leaked from a secure system. According to a press release from Experian about the acquisition, CSID’s monitoring software is a strategic complement to Experian’s ProtectMyID.
When Chinese hackers stole U.S. federal employee data last July, CSID was contracted to support those impacted by the breach. The Washington Post reported the company's 120 call center staffers were flooded with questions when the government published their toll-free number publicly instead of distributing it only to those impacted by the breach, causing hold times to rocket up into the two- and three-hour mark.
“We serviced people who weren’t affected by the breach,” Ross told the Post at the time. “We took a beating early on for doing what in our mind what the right thing to do.”
Early this year, CSID made headlines for offering employees of both genders 12 weeks of parental leave, which can be distributed over a period of six months.
Experian is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2015 was $4.8 billion.
Photo of Joe Ross courtesy of CSID.