Network management vendor Micromuse has announced plans to acquire GuardedNet, a small security information management company, for about US$16.2 million in cash.

Micromuse said the deal, expected to close by the end of September, will help the company deliver more specialised security management offerings to its enterprise and service provider customers. Its Netcool for Security Management collects and filters events, says Peter White, vice president of packaged solutions at Micromuse, but not with the same intelligence and depth that GuardedNet's neuSecure product can.

"GuardedNet has technology that classifies and interprets security data in a much more sophisticated manner than what Micromuse currently does," White says. "GuardedNet also has advanced reporting and compliance-specific reports that we don't have at all. The company offers a security product for a security professional, and Micromuse is for the network. We are going to bring those worlds closer together."

SIM products, also referred to as security event management (SEM), typically consist of software, servers and agents, or probe appliances that collect logs from devices. The resemblance to network management tools is obvious, but SIM tools are said to contain more intelligence specific to security events. For example, a CheckPoint firewall may generate an alert that doesn’t register as a threat to a network management tool, but a SIM product could determine through embedded intelligence that the alert indicates a network hack attempt.

For GuardedNet, the move to working as an operational business unit within Micromuse appears to be a positive one. The company's 42 employees will stay in its Altanta headquarters and continue to work on furthering security management, says Rich Telljohann, vice president of marketing at GuardedNet. GuardedNet competes with companies such as ArcSight, e-Security and netForensics with its centralised security management platform neuSecure. Telljohann says the chance to sell neuSecure through Micromuse’s 100-plus sales representatives appealed to company executives.

"The SIM market has changed. Three years ago 80 percent of purchases were geared toward reducing noise and 20 percent were for forensics and historical reporting. That is the opposite now," he says. "People are demanding higher level of metrics from their SIM products and need the tools to deal with regulatory and management compliance."

Micromuse will sell GuardedNet products and support its existing customer base. Micromuse says it will begin product integration following the close of the deal later this year.

In April, Micromuse announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire performance management software vendor Quallaby for about $33 million in cash. At the time, Micromuse representatives said the company would augment its Netcool suite of products with Quallaby's Proviso performance management software to better manage converged IP services across carrier networks.