IBM, Tata Communications dig into managed security services

IBM is expanding its managed security offerings with an Express line for midsize companies, and Tata is making its first-ever push into the managed security field

IBM and India-based Tata Communications this week separately announced managed security services that pit the two as rivals in an increasingly global competition.

Tata Communications -- the network provider that's part of the $29 billion Tata Group, which includes Tata Consulting Services -- announced its first-ever push into managed security services. These include monitoring, maintenance and management of customer-premises firewalls; IDS/IPS (intrusion-detection and -prevention systems); UTM (unified threat management); and host-based server IDS.

For its part, IBM, which expanded its managed-security-services base after acquiring Internet Security Systems (ISS) two years ago, unveiled a similar suite of "Express" services tailored for midsize companies down to 50-person offices.

Specifically, these are the Express Managed Multi-Function Security Bundle for wholly outsourced 24x7 firewall, IDS/IPS, behavioral and signature antivirus, antispam and Web filtering; the Express Multi-Function Security Bundle, a monitoring service based on IBM-ISS UTM gear that wards off attacks, spam, viruses, and spyware; the Express Managed Protection Services for Server for monitoring and managing servers based on a specially designed IBM software agent; two services for Web-server monitoring and e-mail security; and a penetration-testing service for vulnerability assessment. Peter Evans, director if IBM ISS, said the Express services extend the kind of monitoring, maintenance and remediation capability to SMBs that IBM previously offered to large enterprises.

Tata Communications officially is launching its managed security services this week -- so far it has only one SOC (security operations center) for the services, which is based in Chennai, India -- but the vendor has ambitious plans to expand into the North American market with the goal of providing managed security services in more than 100 countries.

Tata Communications says it has datacenters in Mattawan, N.J., and Reston, Va., among other places throughout the world where it extends a fiber network to carry traffic. "We already do storage and have a hosted content center, so this is a new class of services for us," said John Landau, senior vice president of Tata Communications global enterprise solutions. He says the global nature of managed security services already is evident to him. The majority of the first 12 customers supported through Tata's India SOC are based in the United Kingdom, he says.

Tata Communications' services suite unveiled this week includes monitoring and maintaining perimeter and internal firewalls, UTM and IDS/IPS equipment from nine vendors, including Cisco, Juniper Networks, Check Point Software, Fortinet, 3Com, and IBM ISS.

Tata Communications also is offering a cloud-based denial-of-service detection and protection service, as well as reselling Postini's antispam services. Future offerings may include support for the Cisco Security Agent for remotely managed and outsourced host-based intrusion-prevention, and an authentication service based on EMC/RSA tokens, in addition to vulnerability management, probably to be based on the Qualys engine.

Tata is competing with IBM, but it also is licensing the IBM ISS technology to build a security information platform "for normalization of logs," says Gray Williams, general manager at Tata. "So there is this co-opetition with IBM" that entails both competition and cooperation, he says.

This story, "IBM, Tata Communications dig into managed security services" was originally published by Network World.