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IBM cements security partnership with Palo Alto Networks

The alliance will see IBM deliver security consulting services across the California-based cybersecurity firm’s platforms.

By Greg Noone

IBM and Palo Alto Networks have announced a partnership that would see the two companies deliver AI security solutions for their respective customers. As part of the deal, the latter cybersecurity firm will buy Big Blue’s QRadar SaaS assets, including its QRadar intellectual property rights, before migrating clients of the service over to Palo Alto Networks’ Cortex XSIAM security operations platform. IBM added that any on-premise client of QRader that wishes to remain as such will continue to receive updates and support from Big Blue. 

“Advanced threat protection and automation, underpinned by Cortex XSIAM and watsonx, and coupled with IBM Consulting, will speed client and partner adoption of next-generation security operations,” said Big Blue’s chairman and CEO, Arvind Krishna. “We’ll deliver these capabilities with Palo Alto Networks, and accelerate our security investments and innovation in areas like data security and identity and access management.”

An image of the IBM logo, used to illustrate a story about its new partnership with Palo Alto Networks.
IBM’s new alliance with Palo Alto Networks will see the latter firm acquire Big Blue’s QRadar SaaS assets and intellectual property rights. (Photo by Shutterstock)

IBM to assist Palo Alto Networks with AI solutions

IBM added that qualified clients of QRadar choosing to migrate would not be charged. Big Blue, meanwhile, would receive incremental payments from Palo Alto Networks for each user that made the change. 

Usage of Palo Alto Networks’ AI security solutions would also increase at IBM itself, the latter formed, specifically with increased uptake of the California-based firm’s Cortext XSIAM and Prisma SASE 3.0 solutions. In return, Palo Alto Networks “intends” to weave Big Blue’s watsonx LLMs into Cortex XSIAM, as well as harness the model to solve extant technical issues and “boost overall agent productivity within Palo Alto Networks customer support operations.”

IBM Consulting will also become a preferred managed security services provider for future Palo Alto Networks customers, their efforts supplemented by the creation of a joint security operations centre (SOC) and the newfound availability of the cybersecurity company’s products in IBM’s Consulting Advantage AI services platform. Training of Big Blue’s consultants would also be accelerated, said the firm, “enabling more than 1,000 IBM experts to provide optimal migration, deployment and adoption services across Palo Alto Networks’ platforms.” 

An era of consolidation in the cybersecurity sector

The alliance comes amid a wave of consolidation within the cybersecurity industry, typified by Cisco’s purchase of Splunk in March. The new partnership between Palo Alto Networks and Big Blue, the former’s chief executive Nikesh Arora told CNBC, would finally eliminate a block on further collaboration between the two firms – namely, that both continued to sell security information and event management software. “We used to get stuck there,” said Arora. 

The news also follows a flurry of announcements from Big Blue, including its creation of 800 staff in Ireland to assist in building AI software, the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Honda to explore vehicle-specific chip design, and a new partnership with Tech Mahindra to accelerate the usage of generative AI in the India-based firm. Meanwhile, a civil trial pitting IBM against Swiss startup LzLabs in the UK’s High Court is ongoing. 

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