UK anti-virus company Sophos plans to bolster its business security products with firewall technology.

Sophos is licensing Agnitum's Outpost personal firewall for integration into its enterprise and small business products by the end of this year.

The addition is part of a broader plan by Sophos to move from being an anti-virus company to a more integrated endpoint security provider, according to its head of product development, Gary Thomassen.

The firewall integration will offer companies centralised deployment and management functions and the ability to thwart new types of threats detected by Sophos, Thomassen said. Before the integration the company will provide a free, standalone preview of the firewall technology in April or May, which will be available by download, he added.

Sophos also plans to add technology to its products this year for combatting spyware and adware, Thomassen said.

"We already detect really malicious spyware, and adware is an area that is getting really hot," Thomassen said.

Spyware typically sneaks onto users' computers to deliver advertising messages or send out demographic or usage information. Growth in spyware, and adware have caused security vendors to ramp up their products in response to new threats.

Microsoft released a beta version of its Windows AntiSpyware last month, for instance, while eEye Digital Security has also upgraded its desktop software to protect against spyware.

Although Sophos is not alone in expanding its security arsenal against the wave of new threats, Thomassen said the company is making integration its selling point.

"We are not going to try to release a halfhearted solution," he said.

Pricing for the upcoming products has yet to be revealed.