IBM's integrated security framework

August 2012 Cyber Security

To address the increasing need for an integrated security offering to deal with the growing security threats businesses face, IBM launched IBM Security Systems (ISS) late last year following its purchase of Q1 Labs. Joe Ruthven, business unit executive, IBM Security Systems, IBM Middle East and Africa, spoke to Hi-Tech Security Solutions about the new division.

Joe Ruthven
Joe Ruthven

Ruthven says the company had security products in its software portfolio before the Q1 acquisition, but not an integrated Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system that could consolidate security threats in real-time. Now there is a single brand with a single team behind the security drive.

There are for key trends in the market driving the need for an integrated security offering in business, according to Ruthven. These are:

* The explosion of data in all areas of business, much of it not being secured appropriately.

* Nobody can deny the growth of mobile computing and this is creating a serious security vulnerability. Users are far too trusting when it comes to downloading apps and business must take the appropriate measures to protect itself.

* Cloud computing is also creating a headache for businesses and consumers as they adopt strategies that could see their data held by third parties in a variety of locations.

* Attacks on business IT are also increasing, not only in frequency, but also in sophistication. It’s no longer malware or kids having fun, but organised crime is profiting from hacking attacks, making hacking in its various forms the third most lucrative crime in the world.

These trends, among others have made security a pressing concern for business, a concern ISS is addressing through its unified offering. Ruthven says there are four dimensions to ISS’s service.

* People: Companies need to ensure the right people have access to the right privileges and access to do their jobs efficiently, but they also need to ensure that the wrong people don’t have access to information they don’t need, or may want to access for nefarious purposes.

* Data: Securing data is somewhat lower on organisations’ priorities, but with mobile and cloud services becoming more popular, as well as the rise of ‘big data’ along with governance requirements, managing your data is becoming more important than ever.

* Infrastructure: Business is good at securing its infrastructure, but securing the perimeter is no longer enough to protect from attacks.

* Applications: Applications are also under pressure, not from an access perspective, but also regarding how they behave. Again, this is especially relevant in the mobile space.

To support its security service, IBM also has its X-Force research team that monitors the security market. Its IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report is produced twice per year and provides statistical information about all aspects of threats that affect Internet security, including software vulnerabilities and public exploitation, malware, spam, phishing, Web-based threats, and general cyber criminal activity.


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