The collaboration will see products supporting Cisco's Network Admission Control share security information with Tivoli Policy Manager from IBM. IBM will also embed a security chip into its Thinkpad notebooks and Thinkcentre desktops.
Graham Titterington, senior analyst at Ovum, said, "Users should benefit from integration of the two suppliers' user provisioning components." He added that users face being threatened with a lock-in to the suppliers and exclusion from best-of-breed products.
Tony Lock, chief analyst at Bloor Research, said the IBM/ Cisco agreement "was a valid first step". He said the challenge for the two companies would be to provide examples of best practice to show users how to deploy their infrastructure to secure corporate networks.
But users could face a struggle in making the Cisco and IBM-based security work effectively within their businesses. David Lacy, director of security and risk management at the Post Office, said users would have to collect a lot of information across their IT infrastructure for the approach to succeed.
Rather than focusing on collaboration between suppliers, Lacy said, "What we need is a breakthrough to support something such as role-based access that could reflect the collaborative nature of modern business."