VeriSign on Tuesday will announce a broad security alliance with IBM that includes joint sales, marketing and technology efforts that could widen the Internet security company's access to large corporate customers.
As part of the deal, VeriSign's Internet security services will now be sold
and distributed through IBM's 150,000-strong services group, according to
the companies. Terms of the multiyear pact, which also covers joint
marketing and technology efforts, were not disclosed.
IBM and VeriSign also plan to integrate security software efforts to
provide a new "entitlements"-based management service that will provide a
company with the means to allow selective access to corporate data by a
computer user. For example, a human resources executive might get
access only to those business applications required to do their job while being locked out of sales applications. The new service will be
available by midyear, according to Verisign executives.
Hoping for a greater chunk of the Internet-based computing market, IBM can
latch onto an increasingly important trend through Verisign--security and
authentication services within companies as those customers open their
internal systems to important partners. VeriSign, meanwhile, can cultivate
new customers through IBM's vast Global Services Group.
"That really is the key part of the alliance," said Anil Pereira,
senior vice president and group general manager for VeriSign's enterprise
and service provider division. "To get in the draft of the (IBM consulting)
VeriSign has been busy in recent months forging partnerships with a wide
array of Internet and technology companies in the hopes of becoming the de
facto security and infrastructure "plumbing" for the Internet. It has already struck deals with both Microsoft and Sun
Microsystems' Liberty Alliance Web services efforts, and closed 2001 with a
new alliance with online financial software company Intuit.
|Gartner analyst Vic Wheatman says the new relationship with VeriSign for a network-based service
signals IBM's strong confidence in supporting an evolving service from
IBM executives said they hoped to take a chunk of the developing market for
outsourced computing, or what the company calls an "e-utility," said Elizabeth Primrose-Smith, vice president of global security solutions
for Big Blue. By turning to IBM's services division, for example, a
corporation could obviate the need to purchase internal systems to manage
its online security needs. Instead, that service could be delivered across
the Internet or a private connection using systems housed by IBM.
As part of the pact, IBM will also provide server-systems technology to
VeriSign to host the duo's new entitlements service. VeriSign executives
said the use of IBM systems is an "expansion" of its infrastructure and
does not displace another systems company. VeriSign has been a large Sun
customer in the past.
The service will be one of several joint technologies delivered by the two
companies, executives said. The initial entitlement service will use
VeriSign's public key infrastructure, or PKI, technology--a tool
previously offered within IBM--and Big Blue's Tivoli Policy Director
management software. IBM executives said VeriSign's technology would extend
its own security products.
In addition, IBM and VeriSign said they would work to advance key emerging
standards in security and Web services--a much-hyped Internet-based
software thrust that has caught the eye of the industry's largest companies.