Telecommunications companies ranging from Internet service providers to wireless carriers are betting that a new wave of managed security services can help generate additional opportunities with enterprise customers.
For several years, while carriers have been aggressively building out their own capabilities -- and customer-facing services -- for defending infrastructure operations from threats such as denial-of-service attacks, many telecommunications companies are readying new security offerings that promise to help customers ward off everything from viruses to botnets, and spam.
As so much of the current focus in IT security is aimed at filtering traffic coming through the network, carriers maintain that they are better suited than enterprises themselves to identify emerging attacks delivered via Web sites, online applications, and electronic messaging systems.
By tapping into their operators to handle more security responsibilities, pundits claim, enterprises can save time and money previously spent on researching, installing, and maintaining the different applications needed to provide the same protections that the new services aim to provide.
"Today we see managed security services evolving based on a more complete product set, not just denial-of-service, but rather based on anything related to confidence and availability in the network," said Graham Smith, security expert at U.K.-based carrier Cable & Wireless. "We're looking at building services to find attacks before they happen at the customer level; we have the intelligence to see things like botnets before they get huge and out of control."
To that end, Smith said that Cable & Wireless will introduce a new generation of security services in Sept. 2007 that promise to scope out threats before they ever arrive on enterprises networks. Along with protection against botnets -- programs that infect machines for the purpose of using them to carry out other attacks -- the carrier will include messaging security and intrusion detection capabilities as part of a bundled package.
Some carriers already market some of these technologies to customers today, said the expert, but the key to winning over IT leaders who are used to running their own applications, he said, will be in offering tighter integration among security tools and more attractive pricing than individual point products.
"Most of our competitors today are already selling some form of intrusion detection along with some other security services, but our goal is to bring together best of breed technologies combined into a single solution for a single price," said Smith. "These areas of security are all related and there a need for real, high-level integration; with the size of our networks and our relationships with the technology providers, we can process things that customers could never do on their own."