BT has bought Counterpane Internet Security, turning its high-profile founder and CTO Bruce Schneier into one of its employees.

The US managed security outfit will continue to manage its 550 customers under the same president and CEO, Paul Stich, with Schneier himself staying on as figurehead for some while at least.

The size of the deal has not been announced, but sources have put it at anything from $20 million to $40 million. Counterpane will become part of BT’s Global Services Division, but will retain a separate identity.

The deal appears to have been at the discussion stage for some time. "This is something I've been working on for about a year, and I'm thrilled that it has finally come to pass," Schneier says in his blog. Schneier has been a fairly regular visitor to the UK in recent times on speaking assignments.

"Security threats get more sophisticated and a larger number of companies are outsourcing the management of their security infrastructure to specialised security service providers. Counterpane is a leader in this space," said BT’s official announcement by way of explanation for the thinking behind the deal.

Schneier’s high-profile will come as an extra bonus for as long as he takes the company shilling. In combining the security specialist with a large multinational, the challenge, as ever, will be to retain the edge that turned Counterpane into something bankable in the first place.