IBM, GE Team Up on Enterprise Security

IBM and GE Interlogix, a division of General Electric that designs, develops and manufactures physical security devices, such as digital video systems and access control boxes, have announced they are teaming up to provide integrated security solutions to their customers.

Juan Cabezas, senior vice president of global management and strategic relationships at GE Interlogix, told the E-Commerce Times that his company’s new relationship with IBM offers enterprises a holistic approach to security that integrates Interlogix’ physical security products with IBM’s logical security solutions.

“Before, these software systems did not integrate [or] talk to each other,” he said. “Now there’s a single platform that ties these two systems together [for] an enterprise-level solution.”

In Motion

Cabezas added that, although the two companies have only now made the public aware of their partnership, they already have sufficient capabilities to integrate their systems. He noted that more integrated system pieces will become available in the fourth quarter of 2003 and in 2004.

According to Cabezas, IBM and GE Interlogix already are working with several other companies to perform this integration. Although he declined to mention which companies are involved in the project, he noted that 78 of the Fortune 100 companies use GE Interlogix security products and that the overlap with IBM is significant.

For customers using both IBM and GE Interlogix products, he added, integration can be as simple as a software update.

Holistic Interaction

As part of the initiative, GE Interlogix will integrate its Facility Commander security system integration software with IBM’s Tivoli enterprise management software. In addition, GE Interlogix will support IBM DB2 RDBMS software and IBM Directory Integrator.

Laura Koetzle, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, told the E-Commerce Times that more and more incidents are spanning the realms of physical and logical security. Despite these synergies, however, IT security personnel and physical security workers historically have not worked together.

“Generally, the person managing the security guards and [the] IT firewall manager don’t know each other,” Koetzle said. “They don’t work together. They don’t report to [the] same people.”

However, that situation is not ideal. If, for example, a former employee gets into a laboratory that he should not have had access to and downloads classified data, both physical and IT security employees should have knowledge of both the break-in and the specific files downloaded, helping them piece together the history of the incident and comprehend the whole story.

Nascent Opportunity

In addition, Koetzle said, synergies between physical and IT security can simplify many security actions within an enterprise. For example, an employee can use the same token for building and network access.

She added that neither IBM nor GE Interlogix has specified the particulars of their partnership or announced any financial commitments. However, the two companies are laying groundwork for a nascent opportunity that has been evident for quite a while and that should emerge as a real market soon.

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