Technology giant IBM announced a slate of initiatives to extend security to the growing number of mobile and instrumented devices beyond an organization's four walls, such as smartphones, ATMs, retail kiosks, traffic systems, meters, buildings and sensors. The company also unveiled research projects, software, and services partnerships to help organizations better manage the security of their interconnected and intelligent infrastructures.
Tivoli Endpoint Manager integrates the assets acquired with BigFix into the IBM portfolio. The software extends IBM's capabilities to manage the security and compliance of servers, desktops, roaming laptops, and point-of-sale devices, such as ATMs and self-service kiosks. The software combines endpoint and security management into a single solution and enables organizations to see and manage physical and virtual endpoints.
"From electrical grids to mobile devices, transportation systems and buildings, the proliferation of these intelligent systems is creating new security loopholes that businesses need to address," said Steve Robinson, general manager of IBM Security Solutions. "On today's smarter planet, everything is an endpoint, and must be managed and secured like any other critical business asset."
IBM researchers and developers are also prototyping new technologies to manage security and compliance challenges involving mobile smart phones, such as Google Android-based devices. Using a single management platform, organizations will be able to extend management across any mobile device on their network. The company said with the ability to install in minutes, customers would be able to remotely set policies, monitor employee devices to identify potential data compromise and wipe data off the devices if they are lost or stolen.
The company's security services division and business partner Juniper Networks, are also delivering joint security services for mobile devices for platforms such as Apple iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry OS and Windows through the Juniper Networks Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite. The service is designed to use IBM's worldwide-managed security services capability along with mobile security management technology from Juniper.
In another R&D project, IBM researchers are also identifying ways to help customers secure instrumented endpoints for smart electrical meters. By 2015, it is expected that more than 300 million smart meters will be deployed worldwide, according to an August 2010 Berg Insight report.
"While smart meters have great potential for cost-savings and efficiency, their ability to sense and interact with other devices can also cause them to be vulnerable to security breaches if not managed correctly," IBM documents explained. "Through this new project, IBM is now able to demonstrate for clients how software can be used to manage and secure a meter remotely, while helping to ensure they are also tamper proof."
By 2015, it's estimated that there will be one trillion connected devices, many of which will be instrumented with real-time capabilities to respond quickly and accurately to the environment. As the risks associated with securing these endpoints grows more complex, the cost of managing and securing them is escalating rapidly: IT research firm IDC expects that the endpoint security market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3 percent and reach nearly $10 billion in 2014.