As the new year gets underway, more of the big fish in the security pond are gobbling up smaller ones known for their expertise in specialised fields.

Last week Cisco acquired Rohati Systems, and today Symantec announced it has acquired Gideon Technologies. Separately, Trustwave announced it bought BitArmor. Financial terms were not disclosed for any of the deals.

Privately-held Gideon Technologies has a product called SecureFusion which supports the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) for automating security configuration information, vulnerability assessment and patch checking. SCAP has become a required standard in the US government for use with Windows desktops and other computer systems to enable security information sharing in heterogeneous environments.

“Gideon’s SecureFusion is a compliance and vulnerability assessment tool, and we intend to integrate it with our Altiris environment,” says Gigi Schumm, vice president and general manager of Symantec’s public sector division. The goal is to create an end-to-end SCAP-compliant threat identification and remediation workflow for customers.

Symantec expects to complete the Gideon Technologies acquisition by the end of March and plans to keep the company, which has about 15 employees, intact in its Alpharetta, Ga. headquarters.

Chicago-based Trustwave, which counts roughly 1 million businesses as customers, offers products and services to meet security-compliance requirements, including the Payment Card Industry data-security standards. Trustwave says it has acquired BitArmor for its encryption expertise, and specifically its SmartTag technology.

This technology works by attaching encryption policies to each file or folder, a process BitArmor calls Persistent File Encryption, so that data can only be viewed by an authorized user regardless of what device they happen to be using.

BitArmor also has a full-disk encryption product. BitArmor founder and CEO Patrick McGregor said he anticipates Trustwave will continue to offer the BitArmor products to both enterprise customers and hosting providers for cloud-based services, with no abrupt changes. However, it’s expected the BitArmor name will eventually be phased out.

Mike Petitti, Trustwave’s chief marketing officer, said the BitArmor encryption technology could be integrated into Trustwave’s endpoint security product by the end of the first quarter.