To more closely align with the way clients think about security, IBM Security is focused on providing an open security immune system that enables organizations to integrate and leverage the investments they have already made within their specific industry.

Experts Discuss the Benefits of an Industry-Focused Security Strategy

We consulted six experts from the IBM Security team about the value of an industry-focused approach to security. Here’s what they had to say about aligning security solutions and strategies with industry-specific needs.

What trends influenced IBM to move to an industry-focused approach?

Jim Brennan, vice president of strategy and offering management: As clients are increasingly using technology to differentiate themselves from their competitors, security is becoming a critical determinant of the overall resilience of their businesses. As such, they are looking for security solutions that map more directly to the specific requirements of their industry. IBM Security has had a focus on integrated security solutions since its inception, and moving toward a more industry-centric approach allows us to better meet the needs of these clients.

Salwa Rafee, global security sales and business leader, health care and life sciences: Within the health care industry, the increased focus on the importance of cybersecurity has created a more holistic approach to address the industry’s key pain points. IBM Security has designed a health care security immune system to address these specific industry concerns and map with integrated services and products to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks in health care. It takes intelligence and precision to stop cyberattacks and unknown threats, and siloed solutions fragment those defenses.

Are IBM’s clients contributing to the industry conversation, the solution offerings, etc.? In other words, are we asking our customers what they need and then providing it within the industry lens?

Brennan: In general, we work very closely with our clients in order to determine the types of solutions that will best meet their requirements. In the case of industry-specific needs, our approach has been to work with clients to identify the use cases that are unique to their industries. These use cases often result in specific features or offerings.

Gary Meshell, global security sales and business leader, financial services: One of the key areas that IBM is demonstrating its leadership is in the area of hybrid cloud security, where we are looking to establish an industry standard that all financial services sector (FSS) firms can adopt. To help demonstrate our leadership position, IBM has established an industry consortium with 20 financial services companies to establish a public cloud security standard whereby we are going to create a standard set of security frameworks and controls that can be utilized across any of the major public cloud providers (IBM, Azure and AWS).

Are there truly solution differentiators at the industry level, or are we force fitting offerings to meet current needs?

Brennan: Our focus on industry solutions is fairly new, so these differentiators are still being developed. But this focus is definitely having an impact early on in our offering creation process. One example of this is the Internet of Things (IoT). Rather than trying to boil the ocean when it comes to all of the different aspects of IoT, we are very much viewing it through the lens of specific industries and their needs, whether that be automotive, health care, retail, etc.

Kurt Riley, cybersecurity specialist: The noticeable difference between distribution and other verticals is that distribution companies often lack the resources in terms of people. Lots of distribution companies don’t have large IT departments and are far more interested in cloud-based or hybrid-type solutions because of this lack of resources. They want to consume services and not have to worry about managing IT departments or people.

Martin Borrett, chief technology officer (CTO), IBM Security Europe: Automotive security presents an interesting challenge, since cars have effectively become small data centers on wheels. We are leveraging IBM Security Research to develop and prototype the next generation of intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and security intelligence capabilities for cars, and discussing these innovations with clients across the automotive industry to capture mindshare as we develop these new solutions.

How does IBM stand out from all the other security offerings geared toward industries?

Brennan: IBM Security has the broadest and deepest security portfolio in the market. This allows us to bring a wide range of solutions and expertise to meet the challenges faced by any type of organization. Additionally, being part of IBM provides us with industry-specific expertise and relationships. Together, this affords us a tremendous advantage over other security vendors.

Marcel Kisch, global security sales and business leader, energy and utilities: IBM Security offers broad coverage for our energy and utilities clients with consulting services, technology and managed security services. This allows flexibility based on the individual client’s security strategy, needs and capabilities. Regulations always require a specific set of controls and cover all three: processes, roles and technology. We guide clients through security requirements. Depending on the client’s situation, we identify control gaps, provide good security practices, and implement and manage security technology on behalf of the client. This not only covers corporate networks — IBM builds an increasing footprint into operation technology protection. IBM’s end-to-end security coverage is a significant advantage for our clients.

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