News Release

Cisco and IBM Unveil New Model for Business Security

Industry leaders collaborate to deliver security products, technologies, and services to help bring new level of protection to businesses
Feb 13, 2004

ARMONK, New York, and SAN JOSE, Calif., February 13, 2004 - IBM and Cisco Systems® are working together to help businesses tackle their top security challenges and reduce costs.

IBM and Cisco® are collaborating to address a widespread issue within businesses - ineffective and inefficient security resulting from piecing together multiple, disparate security products and services. Enterprises and governments realize they need a more effective way to protect their businesses from increased external hacker threats, to combat costly viruses and worms, and to control employee, customer and business partner access to internal data and applications.

As part of their long-standing strategic alliance, IBM and Cisco intend to integrate various products to help customers build self-defending environments that will span critical points of business computing - from laptops to corporate data. This automated approach to information security can help simplify security, reduce implementation and administration costs, and bolster business productivity. This can also help customers more rapidly reap the benefits of on demand business.

As a result of this collaboration, systems, applications and networks can be protected by integrated security technologies from IBM and Cisco. Key security enforcement points within businesses can now "talk" to each other and help identify systems that are not compliant with established security policies, helping to detect when threats are imminent. When non-compliant systems or threats are detected, the IBM and Cisco security technologies can automatically adapt to security breaches and help keep associated remediation costs down.

"As a leading manufacturer of a wide range of semiconductor components and integrated circuits, National Semiconductor understands the challenges associated with applying effective end-to-end security when selecting products from disparate vendors," said Ulrich Seif, senior vice president and chief information officer for National Semiconductor. "This alliance of two industry-leading security companies helps address these security challenges, and it has the potential to not only dramatically improve security but also reduce risk and lower costs."

Initially Cisco and IBM will deliver the following:

  • Integrated user provisioning - New integration between the Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) and IBM Tivoli® Identity Manager software can help customers reduce the costs of managing a large number of employee, business partner and customer identities, across a broad array of networked business applications. This can reduce common security risks, such as invalid user accounts that plague an estimated 60 percent of large organizations and can lead to identity theft or intellectual capital theft. The new integration can also decrease the time it takes to enable new employees to be productive with full access to all the appropriate applications and network infrastructure.

  • Integrated endpoint security - Businesses can now use the embedded security chip, an IBM ThinkVantage Technology used in IBM ThinkPad® notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops, to connect seamlessly and with enhanced security to both wired and wireless networks by using new Cisco virtual private network (VPN) solutions. By using encrypted authentication information stored inside computer hardware, coupled with the secure connectivity provided by VPNs, companies can help prevent unauthorized remote network access. The Cisco Security Agent will also be integrated with IBM clients and servers to help provide dynamic "day zero" network attack protection from worms and viruses that have no defined signature or defense along with the reduced need to constantly update endpoint security software. IBM also plans to offer the Cisco Security Agent through when customers purchase IBM eServer xSeries® products from IBM. Together these new capabilities and availability options can cost-effectively deliver enhanced protection across networked business-critical services and resources.

  • Automated compliance - IBM will also join the Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) program and plans to integrate certain IBM Tivoli security management software with Cisco infrastructure products that are involved in the program. The Cisco NAC program fosters enhanced security within the network by allowing customers to examine the security status of endpoints such as PCs and servers, and automatically permit or deny endpoint access to critical network and system resources based on customers' pre-defined corporate IT security policies. IBM's participation in the Cisco NAC program will extend its capability to automatically examine system and application credentials and provide more effective remediation strategies for non-compliant endpoints that could otherwise pose a security threat to businesses.

  • Security services - IBM Global Services will provide services to help assess a customers' combined IBM and Cisco IT infrastructure; design and implement integrated security solutions to protect critical infrastructure; and services that will provide the skills to manage a customers' security operations, and administer or outsource security controls, if requested.

The IBM and Cisco global strategic alliance offers customers industry-leading, integrated e-business solutions. The two companies draw on their strengths in Internet infrastructure, e-business systems, networks, security and services to deliver end-to-end Internet business solutions to enterprises and service providers.


The IBM Tivoli Identity Manager agent for Cisco Secure Access Control Server is planned for availability in March. Integration between the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem and the Cisco VPN Client is currently available. The Cisco Security Agent is currently available on IBM clients and will be available to IBM eServer xSeries customers on Security services from IBM Global Services are also currently available.