IronKey is baling out of the business that made its name, selling its secure USB drive design to storage giant Imation as part of a strategy that will see it focus on services and software.

Imation will now add the company’s hardware USB keys to its wider storage line-up while continuing to embed the software-based security technology developed by IronKey.

The companies haven’t revealed how much money changed hands, but the deal is probably more symbiotic for two businesses that move in different parts of the market.  Imation will get its hand on a mature platform that ties together security with hardened USB keys while IronKey will get global distribution for a software system that ties into its cloud security strategy.

IronKey sees its future as a cloud services company aimed at securing sectors such as online banking which explains why it recently started offering technology previously used only with its hardware keys as a standalone app.

In that market the hardware device is merely a gateway to a security service rather than the service itself. Imation will be on hand to sell the USB keys to the same market for those high-value customers that want security bound up in a token.

“IronKey will accelerate our focus to bring more cloud-based security services to market,” said IronKey CEO, Arthur Wong, stressing the concentration on sectors such as financial services.

As well as losing some employees and its USB key design, a few issues remain to be ironed out not least support for Ironkey’s existing hardware customers who will now have their support passed to Imation.