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Cisco, IBM Collaborate On Security

Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. said on Friday they will expand their long-standing partnership and integrate some of their offerings to bolster the security of their joint customers.

Executives from both companies say that the collaborative effort will help customers more security and efficiently manage users logging onto networks as well as better protect their systems from hackers and fast-moving Internet worms.

The companies say that the combination of IBM's Tivoli Identity Manager software with Cisco's Secure Access Control Server will help customers more cost effectively and securely manage employees, customers, and partners accessing systems and applications from remote locations. The combined technology can help customers reduce so-called "orphan" accounts, those that many companies fail to terminate when an employee leaves or a relationship with a business partner is completed.

The companies will also combine IBM's ThinkVantage Technology, found in IBM ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre Desktops, with newer versions of Cisco's virtual private network applications. The user identity information, which is stored and encrypted on IBM's security chip, adds an additional layer of security beyond typical username and passwords, and makes it much more difficult for hackers to uncover an employee's username and password and log onto the system remotely.

The two companies are also moving to add additional security to desktops and servers. IBM says it will join the recently announced Cisco Network Admission Control program and the company will integrate some aspects of its IBM Tivoli security management software with Cisco's networking gear. The Cisco NAC program aims to help companies define security policies that desktops and servers must meet before they are granted access to the network.

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