Verizon UTM service reflects telecom security push

As consumers demand more defenses within their IT infrastructure, telecom companies are pushing deeper into the security market. Verizon's new UTM service is an example.

Telecom companies are delving deeper into the security market as customers demand that more defenses be baked into their Internet and phone services. The latest example is Verizon Business, which is following up last year's Cybertrust acquisition with a new unified threat management (UTM) service.

Security services is another way for the carrier to add value to customers.

Eric Maiwald,
vice president and service director, Burton Group

Verizon announced the new UTM service Wednesday, saying it will monitor and manage a range of products that combine numerous security functions into a single piece of equipment. UTM offerings typically provide such security basics as firewall protection, detection and elimination of malware and spam, content filtering, intrusion prevention and detection.

Bart Vansevenat, product marketing manager in Verizon Business' security division, said the new offering also will help companies protect data flowing across partner, supplier and customer networks.

"Since we acquired Cybertrust we've been able to add a lot of capabilities," he said. "This is a necessary offering because customers are having to secure many more places within the organization, including the traditional perimeters and mobile access points."

When Verizon Business first announced its definitive agreement to acquire the Herndon, Va.-based information security services provider in May, Verizon Business President John Killian made it clear that the goal was to make his organization the largest managed information security services provider to large business and government customers worldwide.

"As the world continues to move to IP, this combination creates an essential engine for protecting our customers' operations end-to-end," he said at the time. "It will also enable Verizon Business to accelerate its creation and deployment of world-class security solutions to meet our customers' increasing need for comprehensive security solutions."

Vansevenat said Verizon Business' new managed service capabilities will initially be delivered across two UTM platforms – Cisco Systems' ASA (Adaptive Security Appliances) and the Juniper Networks Secure Services Gateway family of products. Verizon will work with enterprise customers to identify where UTM devices fit into their overall security architecture and which capabilities will best protect their businesses, he said, adding that Verizon Business will be able to monitor and manage selected UTM services if customers so choose.

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The new offering from Verizon Business reflects a larger trend where telecom companies are competing more aggressively in the security market. As Verizon's acquisition of Cybertrust shows, telecom companies are also willing to buy up companies that can provide them with the security technology needed to satisfy the demand.

AT&T, for example, has partnered with Cisco on a security portfolio that includes intrusion detection, firewall protection, token authentication, VPN and managed services.

Sprint sells security offerings such as email encryption, content filtering, and Motorola offers a range of security offerings.

Eric Maiwald, vice president and service director for security and risk management strategies at Midvale Utah-based Burton Group, said a steady stream of carriers have moved into the managed security space in recent years. There was BT's acquisition of Counterpane, for example, and MCI's acquisition of NetSec.

"Security services is another way for the carrier to add value to customers," he said. "Rather than just providing bandwidth, which is a commodity today, they now become more valuable to the customer. The carrier becomes part of the security architecture of the enterprise."

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