IBM plans to acquire privately held Consul Risk Management to enhance the compliance and security auditing capabilities of its Tivoli systems management software family.IBM said Tuesday it expects to close its purchase of Consul in the first quarter of 2007. At that point, Consul will become part of IBM\u2019s Tivoli Software business unit. IBM didn\u2019t provide any financial details on the proposed transaction.Consul\u2019s software lets customers track, report and investigate unauthorized access of corporate information by their employees. The company has two main software suites\u2014InSight, which focuses on the needs of enterprise users, and zSecure, which targets mainframe users.The breadth of coverage of both distributed and mainframe systems appealed to IBM, according to Joe Anthony, the company\u2019s program director for Tivoli Integrated Identity Management. "It offers a lot of very good value and is very unique," he said. Some of IBM\u2019s customers are particularly keen to use their mainframes as security hubs, so the addition of Consul\u2019s zSecure will likely prove appealing to them, he added. Aside from Consul\u2019s support of IBM\u2019s System z mainframes, the companies previously had no formal relationship.Although some industry analysts have put Tivoli Security Operations Manager, which debuted in July, and Consul\u2019s InSight in the same security information management category, Anthony doesn\u2019t see them as competing products. "Once you drill down, in terms of what they have, there\u2019s very minor overlap with Tivoli," he said.IBM plans to provide details on a road map for Consul\u2019s software when it closes the acquisition next year. The vendor hopes to quickly integrate the technologies with Tivoli. "They should dovetail nicely together," Anthony said.Acquiring Consul will complement the security management functionality IBM has within Tivoli software and the technology it gained from its US$1.3 billion acquisition of Internet Security Systems, which closed in October, he added.Consul will help Tivoli define and flag what customers determine to be "acceptable use" of their data by those permitted to view that information, Anthony said. "We were definitely not as deep in that area," he added. "Consul is much more thorough."For instance, a bank may allow tellers to access customer information, Anthony said. Using the Consul software, the financial institution can track user behavior in accessing that data so it could be alerted that an individual teller was viewing 800 customer records per day when his or her peers were only examining 200 records.IBM plans to retain Consul\u2019s 89 worldwide staff and to keep both of the company\u2019s laboratories operational. Consul has dual headquarters in Herndon, Va., and in Delft in The Netherlands.Consul, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in September, has about 350 customers, including Hanes, Fidelity Bank, Ford, Kroger and Office Depot, many of which are also Tivoli customers.-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)Related Links:\n\nIBM\u2019s Planned Vallent Buy to Give It More Telecom Expertise\n\nIBM to Buy Internet Security Systems for $1.3B\n\nIBM\u2019s ISS Bid to Broaden Security PortfolioCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.