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IBM Helps Organizations Secure Mobile and Instrumented Devices

February 2011 by Emmanuelle Lamandé

IBM announced new initiatives to extend security to the growing number of mobile and instrumented devices beyond an organization’s own four walls, such as smartphones, ATMs, retail kiosks, traffic systems, meters, buildings and sensors.

IBM is unveiling new research projects, software, and services partnerships to help organizations better manage the security of their increasingly intelligent, interconnected and intelligent infrastructures. Highlights include:

- New endpoint management software to secure PCs, Laptops and Point of Sale devices such as ATMs and retail kiosks;
- Investments in R&D to secure Android-based smartphones and smart meters; and
- New joint work with Juniper Networks to deliver security services for mobile devices.

"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, IBM Security Solutions. "On today’s smarter planet, everything is an endpoint, and must be managed and secured like any other critical business asset."

Computing endpoints are proliferating daily to include sensors, water systems, mobile devices. cars, electric grids, transportation systems and cities. As corporate infrastructures continue to interact with these endpoints, which reside outside of their organization, the demand for greater security controls is growing.

Protecting Endpoints throughout the Enterprise

IBM today is announcing Tivoli Endpoint Manager, a new offering that integrates the assets acquired by 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 new offering combines endpoint and security management into a single solution and enables organizations to see and manage physical and virtual endpoints. Now, clients can better secure and manage their IT assets and gain visibility, control and automation into their most time-intensive IT tasks, such as asset inventory and patch management. Tivoli Endpoint Manager can be deployed in days for any network size or configuration and can identify which devices are not in compliance with corporate IT policies and recommend security fixes and timely software updates to 500,000 machines in a matter of minutes. The new software can also display all of an organization’s virtual and physical assets in a single view to help locate, manage and protect these systems.

Protecting Mobile Devices

While this influx of personal mobile devices on corporate networks is bringing convenience and efficiency to many employees and companies, it can also raise concerns for organizations as they struggle to manage the security risks associated with these new devices accessing their networks. To enable clients to more securely manage their mobile workforce:

IBM Security Services and Business Partner, Juniper Networks, are delivering joint security services for mobile devices for leading platforms such as Apple iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry OS and Windows through the Juniper Networks Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite. This fully managed service goes beyond securing mobile devices, and also integrates policy-based enforcement that prevents these smartphones from accessing key corporate resources unless required security policies and applications are in place. The service is designed to use IBM’s worldwide managed security services capability along with critical mobile security management technology from Juniper to optimize a client’s security operations in order to maintain compliance and secure information assets from Internet attacks, often at a fraction of in-house security resources and regardless of device type or vendor. IBM researchers and developers are prototyping new technologies to seamlessly manage security and compliance challenges involving mobile smart phones, such as Android-based devices. Using a single management platform, organizations will be able to extend management across any mobile device on their network. With the ability to install in minutes, customers will quickly be able to remotely set policies, monitor employees devices to identify potential data compromise and wipe data off the devices if they are lost or stolen.

Protecting Instrumented Endpoints—Smart Meters

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.2 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. 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.

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