Recently, Cisco and IBM announced plans to collaborate on information security. The intent is to integrate their various respective tools and capabilities to deliver a degree of effectiveness and efficiency otherwise unachievable with disparate point products. We note that this effort exhibits the following positive characteristics: 1) it extends a long-standing strategic alliance of two industry heavyweights; 2) it involves highly complementary products and capabilities (with Cisco’s strengths in network infrastructure, isolation services, and intrusion protection, and IBM’s strengths in systems and application infrastructure, identity management, and services); and 3) it is being quickly validated with near-term integration in several areas, such as user provisioning, endpoint security, and policy compliance.
Bottom Line: The near-term integration points between Cisco and IBM deserve consideration, as they provide some useful foundational capabilities. More strategic gains will depend on further/deeper joint efforts, which we believe have the potential to raise the bar in terms of automation and security effectiveness.
META Group originally published this article on 24 February 2004.