Cisco and IBM have announced a new agreement under which the two technology giants will work together to integrate some of their security products, services, and threat intelligence.
The two companies announced on Wednesday new IBM QRadar integrations with Cisco security offerings, including an agreement that Cisco will build two new applications for the IBM Security App Exchange for Cisco Firepower and Cisco Threat Grid. Cisco and IBM also announced the integration of the IBM Resilient Incident Response Platform with Cisco Threat Grid, an integration to be augmented with other offerings including IBM Watson for Cybersecurity and Threat Grid threat intelligence.
IBM Security Vice President of Strategy and Offering Management Jason Corbin said the products integrations will "elevate our partners" to provide joint IBM and Cisco solutions that are integrated out of the box. He said the two companies meet "naturally" in the market with their products, as many customers buy both Cisco and IBM and the security portfolios are largely complementary.
"This is just the beginning of these integrations and of the relationship at this level," Corbin said. "I think we will be working closer together to figure out what the potential offerings are and the best routes to market for us."
Cisco and IBM also announced integrations between the companies' threat intelligence and research arms, IBM X-Force and Cisco Talos. The two companies have already started collaborating around this area, with collaboration between the research teams on emerging threats, such as the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks, and threat intelligence sharing.
Finally, IBM and Cisco also extended their partnership to IBM's Managed Security Services team, including enabling the team to manage and support Cisco security solutions. The ultimate goal behind the product, services, and threat intelligence integrations, Dov Yoran, Senior Director of Strategy & Business Development, Cisco Security Business Group, said, is to drive both companies forward in four areas: automation, openness, simplicity and effectiveness.
Corbin said the partnerships are part of a recognition by Cisco and IBM that security companies need to work together to fight today's threats. He said that is especially true from companies like Cisco and IBM, which he said have largely complementary portfolios in the enterprise.
"I think what we're doing between IBM and Cisco is unprecedented in terms of two pretty large security companies coming together to deliver what we believe is some pretty unique integrations and capabilities in the market," Corbin said. "Ultimately, we are coming together to make the integration of our products and Cisco's products simpler to integrate, to consume … and ultimately delivering more value and making our products stickier in the market."
Partners said that having Cisco and IBM work together will help them gain a competitive advantage over some of the up-and-coming, disruptive technologies. One Cisco partner executive, who did not want to be named, said the companies can then leverage that scale to innovate in new areas. He said partnering will be key to both companies gaining the credibility in the security industry that they are looking for, especially when competing with industry disrupters. The partner said the combination of IBM and Cisco around threat intelligence was particularly compelling to boost both company's security offerings.
Both Cisco and IBM said they plan to continue building their partnership, with Cisco's Yoran adding that the two companies are "beginning on a longer-term outlook collaboration." Corbin said partners can expect to see more announcements between the two companies in the second half of the year.
"There's a lot for everybody here to play with. With the size and each of our two organizations, this will definitely take some time, but we think this will have a real impact on the industry," Yoran said.