Symantec buys encryption firms PGP, GuardianEdge | SC Media
Encryption, Mobile

Symantec buys encryption firms PGP, GuardianEdge

April 29, 2010
Symantec on Thursday announced the acquisition of encryption firms PGP and GuardianEdge Technologies.

The buys will broaden Symantec's existing set of data protection solutions and enhance its ability to help customers secure and manage their critical information, the security giant said in a statement.

Under the agreements, Symantec will purchase PGP, whose products are used by more than 110,000 public and private organizations worldwide, for $300 million. It will buy GuardianEdge, whose products mostly cater to government agencies and the defense and aerospace industries, for $70 million.

Both deals are expected to close in June.

Compliance mandates and the increased frequency of data breaches are driving the adoption of encryption, according to Symantec. The market is estimated to reach $1.7 billion in 2013, said IT research firm IDC.

“As information becomes increasingly mobile, it's essential to take an information-centric approach to security,” Francis deSouza, senior vice president in the Enterprise Security Group at Symantec, said in a statement. “With these acquisitions, we can further protect information by using encryption in an intelligent and policy-driven way to give the right users access to the right information, enabling the trust that individuals and organizations need to operate confidently in an information-driven world.”

Deal highlights
Buyer: Symantec
Who: PGP and GuardianEdge
How much? $370 million total
Why? Encryption
Closing date: June

PGP and GuardianEdge provide full-disk, removable media, email, file and folder and smartphone encryption, all of which are expected to be incorporated into Symantec's existing endpoint security, data leakage prevention and gateway security offerings. PGP's key management platform plans to be integrated into the Symantec Protection Center product, which provides access, threat, security and operational dashboards, Big Yellow said.  

DeSouza told SCMagazineUS.com on Thursday both of the companies were purchased because they complement each other.

For example, PGP sells to both enterprise and small- to mid-size business customers but its “sweet spot” is in the mid-market, he said. GuardianEdge, on the other hand, sells primarily to large enterprises and the federal sector. Additionally, GuardianEdge entirely is focused on U.S. sales, while more than half of PGP's revenue comes from outside of the United States.

Some of their products overlap, but PGP is the only to offer a key management platform, while GuardianEdge specializes in removable media encryption, which PGP does not offer.

Jon Oltsik, principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, told SCMagazineUS.com on Thursday that Symantec likely purchased GuardianEdge because it was already a partner and came relatively cheap.

“PGP is more of a strategic play to build an encryption architecture,” he said. “The fact that the companies have overlapping products is a bit coincidental. In any case, Symantec gains the GuardianEdge and PGP market share, which is pretty impressive.”

Symantec now will own a key management platform and a public key infrastructure (PKI) security-as-a-service offering.

“It gives them the ability to provide encryption for any technology,” Oltsik said. “It gives Symantec an advantage over others who don't have the breadth of coverage.”

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