Cisco and International Business Machines (IBM) have announced a strategic partnership in a bid to strengthen efforts to curb cyber crime. The companies say they will work together on products, services and threat intelligence to protect organizations across networks, endpoints and the cloud.

Launching on the back of the recent global cyber attack WannaCry, the companies said they realized a growing need because of the rising costs of data breaches to enterprises.

Marc Van Zadelhoff, general manager at IBM Security, elaborated: "The partnership will also build new relationships between the companies' researcher teams, from the IBM X-Force and Cisco Talos. "With Cisco joining our immune system of defense, joint customers will greatly expand their ability to enhance their use of cognitive technologies like IBM Watson for cyber security." A data-driven approach will be used to minimize cyber crime, while both parties work towards eventually being able to predict cyber threats faster and with more efficiency.

"In cyber security, taking a data-driven approach is the only way to stay ahead of the threats impacting your business," said Bill Heinrich, Chief Information Security Director, BNSF Railway.

Last year, the cost of cyber attacks was found to be at its highest ever at $4 million -- up 29% over the past three years. This is according the Ponemon Institute's global research,"The Cost of Data Breach Study," which also found that incidents which took longer than 30 days to contain -- costing $1 million more than those contained within 30 days. "These rising costs make visibility into threats, and blocking them quickly, central to an integrated threat defense approach," adds Van Zadelhoff.

According to a Cybersecurity Ventures report, cybercrime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. Zadelhoff says this is why IBM has been a proponent of open collaboration and threat sharing in cyber security.

In the past month, Cisco has acquired the advanced analytics team and the analytics intellectual property of Saggezza, a US-based data analytics company. It has also bought Viptela, an SD-WAN start-up, for $610 million. IBM has acquired Verizon's cloud and managed hosting service.