With the announcement of the IBM Cloud Security Enforcer, IBM continues its journey towards integrated solutions. What had started a while ago in the IBM Security division with integrating identity and analytical capabilities, both from the former IBM Tivoli division and the CrossIdeas acquisition, as well as from the Q1 Labs acquisition, now reaches a new level with the IBM Cloud Security Enforcer.

IBM combines capabilities such as mobile security management, identity and access management, behavioral analytics, and threat intelligence (X-Force) to build a comprehensive cloud security solution that raises the bar in this market.

Running as a cloud solution, IBM Cloud Security Enforcer can sit between the users and their devices on the one hand and the ever-increasing number of cloud applications in use on the other hand. It integrates with Microsoft Active Directory and other on-premise services for user management. While access of enterprise users can be controlled via common edge components, routing traffic to the cloud service, mobile users can access a mobile proxy (World Wide Mobile Cloud Proxy), including support for VPN connections.

The IBM Cloud Security Enforcer then provides services such as application management, a launchpad and an application catalog, entitlement management and policy enforcement, and a variety of analytical capabilities that focus on risks and current threats. It then can federate out to the cloud services.

Cloud security services are nothing new. There are cloud security gateways; there is Cloud IAM and Cloud SSO; there is increasing support for mobile security in that context; and there are Threat Intelligence solutions. IBM’s approach differs in integrating a variety of capabilities. When looking at the initial release (IBM plans to provide regular updates and extensions in short intervals) of IBM Cloud Security Enforcer, there are several vendors which are stronger in single areas, but IBM’s integrated approach is among the leading-edge solutions. Thus we recommend evaluating that solution when looking at improving cloud security for employees.