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IBM plans acquisition of Consul Risk Management

Big Blue has designs on Delft, Netherlands-based Consul Risk Management Inc., which makes software that tracks sketchy employee behavior.

IBM announced plans to acquire Consul Risk Management Inc., a firm whose software tracks employee behavior and unauthorized access of company records.

Financial details were not disclosed. Big Blue said that the acquisition would become part of its Tivoli software unit.

Based in Delft, Netherlands, Consul develops compliance and security audit software that businesses can use to track, report and investigate employees, such as unauthorized activity by IT administrators or other users.

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Consul does a good job of aggregating information inside different parts of an organization, an area that many businesses have been trying to tackle to meet compliance mandates, said Khalid Kark, a senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

"CISOs are tired of putting in piecemeal solutions, so a lot of people are looking for product suites as opposed to best of breed products that can do one thing really well," he said. "This is going to really help round off the compliance insider threat piece for IBM."

Some vendors that compete with Consul are Network Intelligence, a division of EMC, Reston, Va.-based Intellitactics Inc., and Cupertino, Calif.-based ArcSight Inc. Consul may have stood out because it works in mainframe environments, Kark said.

Consul software called Auditor-in-a-box is a dashboard manager that scans company logs to monitor and audit systems and applications. It can be set up to automatically provide alerts when it finds that information or technology assets are at risk, when data is inappropriately accessed, or if compliance processes have been breached.

For example, IBM said the software can be used by a technology company to detect when an unauthorized employee accesses a system containing future product design concepts. An online retailer could also use the software to be notified when an abnormally high number of customer records are accessed.

The Consul software works in IBM's mainframe environment. It enables easy user administration on the mainframe, IBM said.

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