Symantec to Buy PGP, GuardianEdge for Encryption Technology

Symantec announced plans today to buy GuardianEdge Technologies and PGP so it can target the burgeoning encryption market.

Symantec announced plans to acquire encryption specialists PGP and GuardianEdge Technologies.

Under the terms of the agreements, Symantec will buy PGP for $300 million and GuardianEdge for $70 million. The plans represent something of a reversal for the company, which had previously declined to buy into the encryption market even as McAfee purchased SafeBoot and Sophos grabbed Utimaco.

According to Symantec, the acquisitions will put the company in position to take advantage of moves by state and federal governments to enact compliance mandates such as the UK Data Protection Act that require encryption of sensitive data.

"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," said Francis deSouza, senior vice president of Symantec's Enterprise Security Group, in a statement.

Asked about potential overlap, Symantec told eWEEK the combination of PGP and GuardianEdge's portfolios will allow the company to bring encryption to both private and public sector environments. While PGP focuses on delivering file, folder, e-mail and full-disk encryption to enterprise and small and medium-size businesses, GuardianEdge targets government, the company said.

"What I really like about these acquisitions is that they go well beyond PC full-disk encryption alone," said Jon Oltsik, principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, in a statement. "With PGP and GuardianEdge, Symantec gets a geographically dispersed install base, a leading standards-based key management platform, a PKI SAAS offering, a strong government presence, and encryption coverage from mobile devices to mainframes. Yesterday, Symantec was lagging in encryption and key management and today, with PGP and GuardianEdge, it is now able to provide leading solutions worldwide."

The agreements are expected to close later this year. Once the deals are completed, the company's will be under Symantec's Enterprise Security Group.