IBM Global Services beefs up hosted security package

IBM Global Services will roll out four new managed security offerings for its Web-hosting customers next week.

The new security services are slated to address full-time management of intrusion detection, firewall operation, vulnerability assessment and analysis, and customer automated monitoring of systems, according to a spokesman of the Somers, N.Y.-based company.

The latest additions to IBM's portfolio of customized security services to debut next week were created by IBM Global Services consultants and IBM Research analysts, the spokesman said. The offerings expand on a security services initiative launched in July by IBM Global Services.

According to the IBM spokesman, the new services include:

-- Vulnerability assessment to gauge a company's enterprise weaknesses and exploitable access points across multiple systems. IBM provides consulting and a business plan to correct the security gaps.

-- Hosted intrusion detection to help customers defend their perimeter from a variety of known incoming computer threats.

-- Managed firewall service to provide round-the-clock Web site protection.

-- Verification services allowing a Web hosting customer to automate the monitoring of its security systems to test existing server protection and vulnerability.

Jeff Wenger, CTO and vice president of Tax Technologies, employs IBM Global Services' hosted security offering to complement its redundant backup security architecture. Tax Technologies offers tax and financial information for Fortune 500 companies.

Because of the company's highly sensitive data and very large IT corporate makeup, Wenger said a managed security approach is best suited to stay on top of developing threats and up-to-date defense measures.

"[Security threats are] not the type of thing you mess around with and it's not something you can fall asleep on," said Wenger. "[Managed security] allows our staff to do what we do best and stay focused on our clients."

Wenger said IBM's "credibility factor" is usually the selling point for customers who closely examine the security underpinnings of Tax Technologies' hosted service before signing on the dotted line.

"Before, we always deployed applications directly into clients' Intranets. We did not consider putting up a hosted offering without having a partner that could deliver security. Customers accept IBM as a [security] vendor," he said.

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