AT&T extends security service to Canadian enterprise

AT&T’s continued expansion in Canada may see the San Antonio, Texas-based service provider widening its enterprise customer base, beginning with Canadian subsidiaries of multinational firms, according to one telecom analyst.

With the announcement of an upcoming data centre in Toronto, AT&T can continue its collection of multinational customers and see its stake in the Canadian marketplace rise, said Jon Arnold, principal with Toronto-based IP communications research and analysis firm J. Arnold & Associates. Andrea Messineo, a vice-president with AT&T Global Services, and other company executives were in Toronto this week to herald the Canadian availability of AT&T Internet Protect, a security alerting and notification service.

The company also announced that the new data centre in Toronto is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

AT&T is moving toward a more integrated model of security with AT&T Internet Protect, which runs off of the AT&T BusinessDirect portal on an IP backbone, company executives said.

The service offers such extra-protection add-ons as the AT&T Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Defense. “The network’s going to have to become a security device – security has to be an attribute of the network,” said Stan Quintana, vice-president of AT&T Security Services. Transforming the network into a security device involves performing an assessment and getting an understanding of corporate assets, taking into consideration relevant regulatory compliance issue, said Quintana.

“You need to do a business process analysis, and find out what your recovery time objective is. You also need to understand the threats that surround (the enterprise), from disasters to political and economical conditions,” he said.

He also suggests shifting from a “premise and perimeter”-based structural solution to a data-centric network security set-up that allows the IT manager to find the elements that need protecting, classify them correctly, and install authentication protocols, which will allow for knowledge-mining and real-time mitigation of problems.

Such an integrated security will aid companies in an increasingly globalizing IT market, said Messineo. She pointed out that, over the next two years, 42 per cent of North American companies will see more than half of their revenue come from outside their home market.

“We’re facing IT consolidation, from networks, applications, and data centres to servers and storage. So the challenge is that, as businesses spread out globally, they are also consolidating, but their people are still everywhere,” she said.

Citing convergence, business continuity, and mobility as AT&T’s continued focus, she said, “The network needs to extend to another plane so that it’s entirely consistent.”

Such a structure, she said, would also help keep businesses sound during times of trouble. She cited an Economist Intelligence Unit survey that found one-third of enterprises don’t have a plan in place for a major disaster, while half aren’t confident about their employee safety during a disaster.

IT troubles don’t just stem from things like tsunamis and earthquakes, Quintana said.

Quintana added most businesses today are inundated with technology, leaving even the savviest IT manager wondering how best to fend off attacks, which could come from any number of “injection vectors,” from the malleable Java code behind Bluetooth to mobile devices accidentally dipping into sensitive corporate information.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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