The deal marks IBM's sixth acquisition and its second purchase of a security company this year. Financial terms were not disclosed.
IBM intends to use Guardium's database monitoring technology to help companies safeguard their internal data and to automate certain tasks required for regulatory compliance.
The software and services giant characterizes the acquisition as an extension of its business analytics strategy, which revolves around the company's Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting organization.
IBM plans to integrate Guardium into its Information Management Software portfolio.
"Organizations are grappling with government mandates, industry standards and business demands to ensure that their critical data is protected against internal and external threats," said Arvind Krishna, general manager of IBM Information Management practice in a statement. "This acquisition is another significant step in our abilities to help clients govern and monitor their data, and ultimately make their information more secure throughout its lifecycle."
Concerns about hackers and cybercrime play a role in the deal, but Gartner Research VP Avivah Litan says the Guardium acquisition has more to do with compliance than with security.
"The truth is compliance is what sells security," she said.
Litan expects that the Guardium deal will help IBM sell compliance solutions to healthcare and financial companies.
"It gives them software they they need to sell into those markets," she said.
Nonetheless, Litan praises the effectiveness of Guardium's technology, which can keep an eye on what database administrators are doing.
"It's very effective in certain situations," she said. "It excels at privilege-use monitoring."
InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).