International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the No. 1 telecommunications carrier, said they’ll jointly offer secure network communications over the cloud for businesses.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Starting next year, the partners said they’ll offer Fortune 1000 companies data communications over AT&T’s virtual private network that will be connected to IBM’s global computer centers over the cloud.
Erich Clementi, senior VP for global technology services for IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., said the arrangement shows the cloud, or all the Internet connections worldwide, “will quickly evolve as a tool for innovation rather than just for infrastructure.”
AT&T, based in Dallas, said all of the target customers are already AT&T customers. Andy Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, said the AT&T network will benefit from “control and management capabilities of IBM’s enterprise cloud.”
The joint venture will rely on technology from AT&T Labs to add security and functionality, the companies said. The enterprise services will have more than 70 automated security functions built in as well as extensions to wireless devices that are authorized to work with the network.
The latter point is a key problem for enterprises, whose employees are tapping into networks outside of the office, using mobile phones or tablets that need to be secure.
In an earlier era, AT&T acquired NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR), one of the top computer makers to get into high-level computing, while IBM was an investor in Satellite Business Systems, then in MCI Communications, a competitor to AT&T that was ultimately acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).
Shares of IBM rose 42 cents to $210.42 in Tuesday trading, while AT&T shares fell 16 cents to $37.50.
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