RealTime IT News

IBM Proposes Global Security Plan

IBM Corp. Monday joined the multitude of tech firms that have vowed to help firms better batten down the network hatches since the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. when it pledged to expand existing security and technology services.

The announcement comes at a time when IT security experts, pundits and politicians near and far have been proclaiming fears about possible terrorist attacks aimed at the entire Internet.

To do its part to stave off assaults, Big Blue said it is proposing a " two-pronged approach," whereby it will aligns security offerings within an expanded IBM Global Services Practice and creates a new corporate-level Global Solutions Office to address "broader" security issues.

In the first prong, IBM's Global Services division will expand its information security and privacy services to provide more security offerings and to better meet changing market demands; namely, customers want comprehensive security suites as opposed to picking things up piecemeal. It will tap the talent of 3,000 security consultants, implementation experts, engineers and technology architects, as well as nearly 100 researchers from IBM Research to commit to this.

While IBM's Security and Privacy service already includes such goodies as assessments, security architecture, planning and design, implementation, management and outsourcing through its Tivoli software line, the firm added enhanced intrusion detection services and vulnerability assessments to security policy assessments and managed firewall services for hosted customers. Specifically, the enhanced suite will include virtual private networking, authentication, content delivery, mobile connectivity and public wireless local area networks.

Big Blue has also tabbed specialized security provider Kroll Inc. to forge a security package that includes a physical security assessment, an IT infrastructure assessment and gap analysis.

In the second prong, the newly-formed Global Security Solutions Office will serve as a central coordination point for security technology, according to IBM. Biometrics and biohazards, topics addressed in discussions about how to better airlines and natural resources, respectively, will also be added.

With its eye more fastened on security than ever, IBM admittedly is acting on data collected from numerous surveys since Sept. 11. And, if one needs proof that IBM's plans this to be a global initiative, the tech giant said it will make use of such resources as the Global Security Analysis Lab in New York and Zurich; the Wireless Center of Competency in La Gaude, France; Security Competency Centers in Raleigh, North Carolina and Austin, Texas; and the Managed Security Services Center, Boulder, Colorado.

Indeed, in a study released about a week after the attacks on America, research firm IDC said the market for information security services may grow to $21 billion by 2005's end, growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 25.5 percent over the 2000 to 2005 period. But that estimate, of course, didn't consider the aftershocks that have occurred since Sept. 11, and the figures may seem conservative to many security experts today.

Monday's announcement comes a week after IBM announced the creation of a Privacy Institute and management council to focus on privacy and data protection challenges facing its enterprise customers and the marketplace.