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Rapid7 buys cloud security firm

Deal gives Boston cybersecurity company access to a huge opportunity in cloud computing

Boston data security company Rapid7 is making a big move into cloud computing with its $145 million deal to acquire DivvyCloud Corp., a Virginia-based firm that helps companies secure data or applications running on remote computer systems.

“This is one of the biggest areas that our customers have been asking us about," said Rapid7 chief executive Corey Thomas, as businesses of almost every size move away from internal data centers and instead lease computing capacity from cloud-based services like Amazon’s AWS or Microsoft’s Azure.

But companies that run their software in the cloud must still make sure their data is secure. Inexperienced tech personnel often make mistakes setting up cloud services, causing costly and dangerous data breaches. Companies such as Verizon and CapitalOne have suffered major data leaks while using Amazon AWS, because of errors in setting up their cloud-based applications.

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“It’s a problem that’s growing geometrically," said Neil MacDonald,cloud computing analyst at research firm Gartner.

DivvyCloud’s service automatically examines all of a company’s cloud-based applications, testing them against strict security standards. It spots misconfigured applications and can repair problems in real time. The software is compatible with the world’s biggest cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud.

Rapid7 will pay for the purchase with a combination of cash and shares of its stock, which closed Tuesday on the Nasdaq exchange at $46.94, down 2 percent on the day. The acquisition is to be completed by the end of the second quarter.

Thomas said that his company had been in discussions with DivvyCloud for months, and decided to proceed with the deal despite the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Thomas said that the pandemic is likely to accelerate the shift toward cloud computing, and the need for better cloud security.

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Hiawatha Bray can be reached at hiawatha.bray@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.