IBM and Cisco in enterprise security tie-up

IBM and Cisco Systems have unveiled product updates that will tie technology from the two companies more closely together in an...

IBM and Cisco Systems have unveiled product updates that will tie technology from the two companies more closely together in an effort to secure customer networks from worms and viruses.

The companies said IBM's updated Tivoli software will work with Cisco network equipment to scan devices, which are attempting to connect to a network, to ensure compliance with network security policies.

For example, the Tivoli Compliance Manager might detect that a system attempting to connect uses a weak password, or lacks a key operating system or anti-virus software update.

The announcement marks the promised integration of Tivoli with Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC) programme to link security software and network infrastructure devices in an effort to protect networks from security threats.

Working from the information discovered by the Tivoli Security Compliance Manager, Cisco's Secure Access Control Server (ACS) can grant or deny a device access to the network, moving non-compliant devices to a security quarantine area isolated from the rest of the network.

Companies also can use IBM's Tivoli Provisioning Manager to automate remediation for non-compliant devices, such as patch installation or anti-virus software updates, after which Cisco devices will automatically attempt to connect them to the network.

IBM is using automated, policy-based provisioning technology it acquired after purchasing Think Dynamics to distribute software updates and fixes to non-compliant devices.

Unveiled in November 2003, the NAC programme is part of Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and pairs the Cisco with security companies, enabling routers to evaluate information provided by security products before allowing machines to connect to a network.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service

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