IBM, Cisco Buddy Up For Enterprise Security Push

Two big players in the enterprise security market have teamed up after IBM Security and Cisco said they will work together to tackle the growing cybercrime threat.

The partnership will see the two firms work together ‘across products, services and threat intelligence for the benefit of customers’.

It comes as IBM also launched a separate cyber security initiative to address the global cybersecurity worker shortage.

Security Partnership

The partnership deal will see Cisco’s security products integrated with IBM’s QRadar security analytics platform, in an effort to to protect networks, endpoints and cloud. Cisco will also build new applications for IBM’s QRadar.

The first two new applications will help security teams understand and respond to advanced threats and will be available on the IBM Security App Exchange.

The agreement will also see IBM Global Services begin offering support for Cisco products with its Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) offerings.

But it is worth noting that the partnership deal is not just across products, but also research teams. The IBM X-Force and Cisco Talos research teams will work together on threat intelligence research, as well as coordinating with each other when dealing with major cyber security incidents.

The decision by the two firms to partner up comes after a recent Cisco survey of 3,000 chief security officers found that 65 percent of businesses use between six and 50 different security products.

Apparently, this proliferation of security tools that do not communicate or integrate is causing real issues for internal security teams.

“Managing such complexity is challenging over-stretched security teams and can lead to potential gaps in security,” said the two companies. “The Cisco and IBM Security relationship is focused on helping organisations reduce the time required to detect and mitigate threats, offering organisations integrated tools to help them automate a threat response with greater speed and accuracy.”

Another element to the deal will see the integration of IBM’s Resilient Incident Response Platform (IRP) with Cisco’s Threat Grid. The thinking here is that this will provide security teams with insights needed to respond to incidents faster.

“Cisco’s architectural approach to security allows organisations to see a threat once, and stop it everywhere,” said David Ulevitch, SVP and general manager, Cisco Security.

“By combining Cisco’s comprehensive security portfolio with IBM Security’s operations and response platform, Cisco and IBM bring best-of-breed products and solutions across the network, endpoint and cloud, paired with advanced analytics and orchestration capabilities,” he added.

“With Cisco joining our immune system of defense, joint customers will greatly expand their ability to enhance their use of cognitive technologies like IBM Watson for Cyber Security,” added Marc van Zadelhoff, general manager at IBM Security. “Also, having our IBM X-Force and Cisco Talos teams collaborating is a tremendous advantage for the good guys in the fight against cybercrime.”

Talent Factory

Meanwhile IBM has also announced a new cybersecurity skills initiative in an effort to plug the growing worldwide skills shortage.

Big Blue cited Frost and Sullivan research that projected a massive 1.8 million-person cybersecurity worker shortage. IBM hopes that its programs and partnerships that help promote a “new collar” cybersecurity workforce strategy.

The practical steps IBM is taking is to work with alternative education programs such as the Hacker Highschool project, which is an open cybersecurity training program for teens and young adults, in an effort to encourage more youngsters into the cybersecurity profession.

IBM will also continue its investment in more traditional skills-based education, training and recruitment, including vocational training, coding camps, professional certification programs and innovative public/private education models like P-TECH.

It has also outlined a strategic workforce approach in a whitepaper for the security industry, which provides practical steps to help organisations rethink their own cybersecurity talent models.

“The cybercrime landscape is evolving rapidly, yet many organisations are still approaching their cybersecurity education and hiring in the same way they were 20 years ago,” said IBM’s Marc van Zadelhoff.

“The truth is that many of the critical cybersecurity roles we need to fill don’t require a traditional four-year technical degree,” he said. “Industry leaders need to take an active part in resolving the talent issues we’re facing, by investing in new models and extending the pipeline to focus on hands-on skills and experience over degrees alone.”

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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