Cisco and IBM in historic cybersecurity partnership



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1 June 2017 | 0

By Steve Morgan

Two years ago, Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO at IBM Corp., said, “We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true—even inevitable—then cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”

On the money
Rometty was right on the money. Cyber criminals are expected to cost the world $6 trillion (€5.3 trillion) in damages by 2021, up from $3 trillion (€2.7 trillion) in 2015—when she prophesied the hacker threat to CISOs, CIOs, and CEOs from 123 companies in 24 industries at an IBM Security Summit in New York City.

In response to a potential ‘hackerpocalypse’, the world is expected spend more than $1 trillion (€894 million) cumulatively on cybersecurity products and services over the next five years, according to research by CyberSecurity Ventures.

Despite the growing investment by organisations into defending and protecting their apps, data, devices, infrastructure and people, security leaders are behind the eight ball.

Black hat hackers have the upper hand over white hats. The black hats are more daring and experienced, and they are getting away with a soaring number of cybercrimes.

Speed advantage
“Speed is where the black hats have the advantage,” said Dr Anita D’Amico, CEO at Code Dx, an application security company. D’Amico is also a human factors psychologist, a specialist in cybersecurity situational awareness, and a security researcher who was previously head of Northrop Grumman’s first Information Warfare team.

D’Amico continued: “Right now about 11% of compromises are accomplished within seconds, and another 82% in under an hour. The attackers work nimbly and without rules. The attackers, by nature, abhor rules and will break them.

“The defenders, by contrast, often are encumbered by rules of engagement and permissions, and so the defensive response is slow, measured in hours or days. Even white hat hackers who are paid to penetrate an enterprise by its own organisation have to work within boundaries and rules that are not there for the black hats.”

A severe cybersecurity workforce shortage, which is predicted to result in 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings globally by 2021, up from a previous tally of 1 million, is putting more pressure on organisations and CISOs in their battle against cybercrime.

Fighting cybercriminals
Cisco and IBM announced an historic partnership today in the war against cyber criminals. Joining forces, they become a two-headed cyber-fighting monster.

While the relationship brings technology collaboration and integration to Cisco and IBM customers, it also brings two armies of cyberexperts. The tech giants are two of the top 10 cybersecurity start-up acquirers. With 40 security acquisitions under their collective belts, Cisco and IBM have snapped up some of the top information security talent along the way. IBM Security alone employs more than 8,000 people globally.

One of the core issues impacting security teams is the proliferation of security tools that do not communicate or integrate, according to the press release that announced the new partnership.

A recent Cisco survey of 3,000 chief security officers found that 65% of their organisations use between six and 50 different security products. Managing such complexity challenges over-stretched security teams and can lead to potential gaps in security.

The Cisco and IBM Security relationship is focused on helping organisations reduce the time required to detect and mitigate threats, offering organisations integrated tools to help them automate a threat response with greater speed and accuracy.

IBM Security and the Cisco Security Group, which generate $2 billion-plus apiece in annual revenues, both focus on Fortune 500, Global 2000, and mid-sized to large enterprises. While there may be a perception that the two businesses are locked in a head-to-head competition, in reality it is a co-opetition that puts their respective customers first.



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