IBM Teams with Channel Partners to Improve Digital Security

The vendor is working with key partners to expand its strategy for authentication to enterprise businesses and other vertical markets such as government and health care.

November 17, 2008

D.H. Kass

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IBM Corp. (IBM: NYSE) is working with key business partners to provide integrated, digital security solutions that employ stronger authentication methods to help customers better thwart security breaches.

Last week, IBM showcased its recent work with three Business Partners providing digital security solutions -- Arcot, Gemalto (GTO: Paris Exchange), and L-1 Identity Solutions (ID: NYSE)—to underscore its overall strategy for authentication and human identity systems. In working with these business partners and others, IBM is intent upon expanding the reach of its so-called trusted identity initiative and its Tivoli software portfolio into growing markets for digital security such as enterprise-level business customers, health care facilities and government.

“As breaches and compromises of security occur more frequently, enterprises are looking to lock down security even further,” said Joe Anthony, IBM program director, security and compliance management, Tivoli Software. “Single IDs and passwords are no longer enough.”

IBM estimates that only 10 percent of enterprise companies are currently using digital security beyond user identification and passwords. A wide range of so-called second factors, including finger print scanners, active or passive RFID badges, iris scanners and other biometric credentials, are in use but no consensus has emerged as to the best, or most effective additional layer of authentication for businesses.

“Government regulations demand that enterprises take full responsibility for data security and the linkage between data security and strong authentication should not be underestimated,” said Al Zollar, general manager, IBM Tivoli Software. “Human identity and authentication systems are only valuable when they can be trusted.” 

Anthony said that enterprise companies, accordingly, have increased their level of interest in second factors for digital security. He pointed out that the need for organizations to confirm human identity—users are who they say they are when trying to gain system access—is becoming a necessary component of digital security, particularly in the context of a global economy.

Anthony said that Arcot, Gemalto and L-1 Identify are among some 20 “strong authentication” channel partners who work with IBM’s Tivoli software unit. Another dozen authentication-focused partners work with IBM Global Services.

Companies such as Arcot provide new cloud-based technologies called soft tokens that are downloaded to a user’s workstation and used in addition to a user ID and password to strength authentication credentials. These technologies can be packaged as a managed service for business customers and made applicable for small-to medium-sized customers as well as large businesses.

Other Business Partners such as Gemalto (with smart cards) or L1 (with biometric credentialing) are framing additional authentication technologies and further opening up the market, Anthony said.

“This is a dynamic area with good growth potential,” Anthony said. “More than half of the overall costs are integration-related based on the customer’s needs. There’s an opportunity for systems integrators, too.”

IBM maintains four development centers for trusted identity technology in San Jose, CA, Dallas, TX, Bangalore, India and LaGaude, France where it works with partners and customers on specific projects and improving trust and confidence in human identity systems.

TAGS: authentication,services,IBM,data security

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