IBM takes on enterprise Cloud security

IBM's new Dynamic Cloud Security offers a set of services covering access control, data protection and increased visibility

As organizations increasingly move their operations to the cloud, they need to remain vigilant against security breaches. IBM had this in mind as it prepared a new portfolio of services designed to help secure an enterprise's cloud operations with the same rigor that has come to be expected with in-house operations.

"The move to the cloud is nothing new, but what we're seeing now is that people are now considering moving critical workloads to the Cloud," said Marc van Zadelhoff, IBM vice president of strategy for security systems.

The Dynamic Cloud Security portfolio, available now, "allows customers to take security to the Cloud with them," Zadelhoff said.

The portfolio concentrates on aiding enterprises in three of areas of security: authenticating access in the cloud, protecting applications and data in the Cloud, and improving visibility into the effectiveness of security controls watching over Cloud resources.

More than 200 engineers helped build the portfolio over the past year. The services extend IBM's collection of security software programs, such as QRadar security event management software and the Guardian data protection software, so they can be used to guard cloud resources as well.

Initially, the services will focus on securing resources on Amazon Web Services and IBM's own SoftLayer Cloud, though they can also be used with other Cloud services as well, Zadelhoff said.

The portfolio includes a central portal that offers a summary of the state of security across all of an organisation's assets. Most security breaches can take weeks or even months to discover, IBM has estimated. The longer a breach goes undiscovered, the more damage an attacker can do. So a security portal can help identify problems as soon as they arise.

The IBM services can scan the applications being used in the cloud for potential vulnerabilities, and can alert developers or system administrators of any potential security weaknesses. They can identify sensitive data in the cloud, and then monitor that data for any unauthorized usage. Pricing is based on different services used, overall usage and other factors.

IBM itself already collects more than 20 billion daily security events in the course of its duties managing security for clients. This intelligence allows IBM to identify threats early on.

IBM has identified security as a growth market for the company. It has acquired 12 security companies in the past decade, and has invested over $2 billion into security research, securing over 3,000 patents in this area.

In the field of cloud security, IBM will be competing against a wide variety of companies such as Symantec, Barracuda, Qualys, SafeNet, TrendMicro and WatchGuard -- many of which have built up expertise in on-premise security products and services.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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