IBM to offer Nokia server software to enterprises

Nokia Corp. and IBM Corp. have agreed to collaborate in providing secure mobile phone applications to enterprises in a move that could help the Finnish manufacturer penetrate the corporate market.

Under the agreement, IBM will act as a systems integrator for Nokia’s mobile VPN (virtual private network) client software, the companies said Tuesday in a joint statement. The software allows employees who use mobile phones based on Symbian Ltd.’s operating system to access their corporate networks securely. Symbian, a London-based consortium, is part-owned by Nokia, in Espoo, Finland.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, will provide installation, maintenance, financing and consulting services for Nokia’s mobile VPN system, the companies said.

Nokia’s mobile VPN client software is a standards-based IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) product that supports both legacy and PKI (public-key infrastructure) authentication, according to the statement. The product is supported by Nokia’s Security Service Manager software, an open-standard, over-the-air provisioning system for mobile security applications.

Over-the-air provisioning systems can help enterprises cut costs by reducing the maintenance work involved in installing VPN clients and updating security policies, John Kirby, vice president of global wireless e-business services at IBM, said in the statement.

Several corporate applications can benefit from a secure mobile infrastructure, including calendars, messaging and intranet access, the companies said.

The mobile VPN agreement is the latest in a string of deals IBM and Nokia have signed in recent months. In July, the companies agreed to collaborate in developing software for the secure delivery of digital content over wireless networks. In April, they agreed to jointly pursue the public WLAN (wireless LAN) market.