IBM to take security up a notch with $1.5 bln investment

Retail

IBM Corp, the world’s biggest computer-services provider, plans to spend $1.5 billion next year to help customers secure data and comply with new rules for guarding information.

IBM will develop technology and enlist outside suppliers such as PGP Corp and Fidelis Security Systems Inc to provide businesses with complete security protection, according to a statement yesterday. “Security is broken,” Val Rahmani, general manager of IBM’s infrastructure management services, said in a telephone interview. “There has been a perfect storm of threats.”

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, expanded its security products last year by buying Internet Security Systems Inc for about $1.3 billion. The company is challenging EMC Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co in sales of corporate security services, which protect everything from desktop computers to data centers. “IBM is making key advances by using its ISS acquisition to provide a global view of security,” said Eric Domage, an analyst at IDC, a research firm based in Framingham, Massachusetts. As part of its security plan, IBM is putting 200 researchers in locations such as Tokyo, Zurich and India. Its partner PGP supplies encryption software for laptops and mobile handheld devices, while Fidelis monitors Internet gateways to prevent leaks of personal and classified information.

A board that includes members from IBM’s services, software and hardware units is overseeing the effort, Rahmani said. The Payment Card Industry, a group that represents credit and debit card issuers, imposed new security standards following a series of security breaches. TJX Cos, the owner of Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores, said in January that hackers gained access to at least 45.7 million customer credit-card numbers. Gap Inc, the largest US clothing retailer, reported the theft in September of a laptop computer containing the personal data of 800,000 job applicants. As businesses adapt to stricter rules, technology security companies are racing to help, said Avivah Litan, an analyst with Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Inc. “Almost every vendor that has anything to sell in the security market is positioning their products and services to help retailers meet PCI compliance,” Litan said. (people.com.cn)

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