Hardware is hot in cybersecurity

Hardware platforms are all the rage in the war against cybercrime.

IBM's z13 mainframe
IBM's z13 mainframe
Credit: IBM

There were two major announcements made yesterday by cybersecurity superpowers IBM and Cisco. Both of them rolled out some heavy artillery in the form of enterprise grade security hardware aimed at midsized and large enterprises.

IBM will be shipping its z13s mainframe in March - complete with with speedy encryption, cyber analytics, and other security innovations which are baked into the new machine.

Cisco is delivering its new threat-focused Firepower next-generation firewall (NGFW) which integrates Cisco’s stateful firewalling technology and threat services - intrusion prevention, advanced malware protection and ​reputation-based URL filtering - into a single solution.

The new gear from IBM and Cisco embeds security software solutions which have historically been deployed as standalone point products by end-user customers.

CIOs and CISOs are increasingly challenged around implementing, updating, and maintaining dozens of cybersecurity products that don't talk to each other - and are nearly impossible to view from a single console or dashboard.

While IBM and Cisco are making a lot of noise with their new hardware, they are hardly the only vendors pitching fully integrated cyber iron.

Wall Street cyber darlings Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet have built multi-billion dollar (market cap) cybersecurity franchises around their NGFWs.

Will one of the major tech vendors jump into cyber and challenge IBM in the 'cyberframe' space? Right now IBM's biggest competition appears to be public cloud providers.

Hardware isn't just hot in the data center. Here are three companies with hardware based security solutions that serve growing niche markets:

  • Spikes Security is focused on eliminating cyber attacks on web browsers.  Spikes' Browser Malware Isolation Appliance is a security solution that effectively isolates and eliminates all browser-borne malware.
  • AirMagnet Enterprise from Fluke Networks is a full-time wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS), wireless intrusion detection system (WIDS) and wireless network security monitoring system that provides dedicated monitoring of the airspace to enable the security, performance and compliance of wireless LANs.
  • IronKey provides secure portable data storage solutions, including hardware-encrypted USB flash drives and external hard drives for mission critical mobile workforces and the invaluable data they carry.

As the cybersecurity market evolves, expect to see more servers and next generation firewalls shrinking down the number of point products in use at large enterprises -- and expect to see more plug-and-play security appliances for small to mid-sized companies.

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