In the wake of last week’s announcement that IBM and AT&T are getting together to support the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), many have expressed concerns about IoT and security. It seems, though, that both companies anticipated this and have announced plans to develop simplified, single-source network security products.

IBM, AT&T and the IoT

Nowhere in the announcement is there any mention of the IoT or related security measures, but it was clear from the original announcement that both companies will be doing all they can to manage, if not run, as much of the IoT as possible.

That they won’t totally be running the show is more a testament to the diversity of the IoT than a lack of ambition on the part of either company. However, they will certainly be two of the major IoT support players, with IBM offering network infrastructure and AT&T offering access to everyone’s home.

It is also a certainty that, once the IoT is actually in place, security is going to be a principal concern. If enterprises are already worried about the security of cloud computing -- which they have a choice in adopting -- then how much more with the IoT? If it reaches the levels we believe it will, then there will be no avoiding it -- and no avoiding the security implications.

So the announcement that the two companies have developed new security management offerings is not really surprising, especially when you consider the vulnerability of corporations, as summarized by IBM the infographic below.

According to a statement from the companies, this part of the partnership will see the development of joint services to offer businesses a security network infrastructure with advanced threat monitoring and analytics.

Consolidating Security

They also point out that, just as information and the use of information by enterprise workers has been hampered by siloed data, security has been siloed so that each data set has to be secured separately and at considerable cost, often through very complex means.

The result is that across enterprises it is difficult to monitor security threats as they occur. To put it simply, when one hole is closed off, another one is often exposed.

Combining their technologies, they say they will be able to address these challenges with a secure network infrastructure, analytics, and the optimal blend of on-premises and next-generation cloud-managed security capabilities.

Ultimately, the result will be improved monitoring of enterprise infrastructure at reduced costs and greater visibility with fewer license, maintenance and hardware requirements built around their respective security offerings.

Initially, the new service will offer enterprises Network Security Infrastructure and Managed Security Services from AT&T, including network-based firewall, IDS/IPS, web filtering, secure email gateway and distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection services.

IBM capabilities include IBM Network Security Consulting to assess and transform network security, as well as Security Monitoring and Threat Intelligence for faster threat detection and response.

Organizations are finding great benefits with hybrid IT strategies that blend mobile, cloud-based and on-premises IT resources…But securing these infrastructures can be complicated without a single, integrated management system that avoids creating silos of security data, making it almost impossible to uniformly monitor security threats across environments. IBM and AT&T have come together to offer unprecedented security services designed to break down those silos and better secure data no matter where it resides,” Kris Lovejoy, General Manager of IBM Security Services said.

While the benefits of these services are immediate, they will further serve to help lay a groundwork for addressing the security concerns that enterprises are harboring regarding the coming IoT.

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