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Telecom Security Innovations will allow telcos to offer security

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Telecom Security Innovations & Services

It’s an exciting time to be involved in telecommunications. We have witnessed a major push towards remote work this year and telecom companies, both on the provider and supplier side, are scrambling to meet new demands. The growth is being driven by an exponential bump in traffic from both human and IoT footprints. To add to it all, many telcos are gearing up to launch 5G services as well – but, like all things in life, it’s a mixed bag.

The rise in digital activity across the globe has also been accompanied by a nearly unbelievable surge in cyberattacks, much of which is highly sophisticated and increasingly targeted at enterprise rather than individuals.

Many organisations and business leaders had a tough time in 2020 dealing with a relentless spate of virus, ransomware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. For their part, telecom providers have been forced to reconsider the limitations that come with legacy infrastructure, especially when it comes to ensuring the security of mission-critical data.

Also consider the sheer scope of change in business models for carriers and providers, if they could finally move away from their pitched battle around pricing. By offering high-value, premium security solutions that guarantee peace of mind, the telecom industry can create something customers will be willing to pay a higher price for: reliability.

The need to rethink security from an infrastructure perspective

The complexity of security issues has moved beyond ‘gatekeeping’ firewall solutions in the core. Think about it. Legacy security solutions are largely based on sampled traffic. The traditional firewall sits in the core network and is generally too busy dealing with high traffic volumes to do much beyond a basic source-destination check – leaving the network vulnerable to malicious content housed undetected in particular packets of communication.

These solutions are typically slow to detect and mitigate the kind of advanced attacks that are increasingly prevalent in 4G networks and will be “de rigour” in 5G. While enterprise networks can be enmeshed in multiple layers of security, that technique is simply not tenable for telecom networks that have too many connections going in every possible direction to be effectively protected.

The problem gets magnified and compounded for 5G. Picture the huge variety of devices feeding into the networks, ranging from very high-speed mobile broadband to numerous complex and connected IoT devices, vehicles, autonomous drones and more. To put this in perspective, each of these devices is estimated to generate 20-gigabits of traffic per second that all needs to be routed and checked for security. In the case of an attack, the volume of data generated can increase manifold and significantly stress system resilience.

Telco Security Innovations initiative takes security to the next level

Telcos understand this only too well. And it’s not surprising that in recent surveys, the need for advanced security in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers trumped evergreen asks from telecom providers like lower latency, higher capacity, and throughput.

This is why I was so excited to talk with Folke Anger, Head of Solution Line Packet Core, Ericsson Digital Services and Yasir Liaqatullah, Vice President Product Management, A10 Networks to discuss an interesting innovation around the security of 5G Core technologies – the Packet Core – a high-performance cloud-native firewall.

Building security into the DNA of 5G Core infrastructure

With CSPs moving from centralised data centres to edge cloud, the threat landscape has evolved to a point where attacks need to be mitigated as they arise. This means bringing down the scale of response time from minutes or seconds to milliseconds. That’s physically impossible to achieve on legacy infrastructure, so Ericsson thought about the problem differently.

They combined their cloud-native principles with the design of the user plane and built-in its Packet Core Firewall, powered by A10 Networks’ security capabilities, by adding micro-services into the user plane in Packet Core Gateway. The result is a fully integrated security solution that eliminates the need for additional cloud-native functions, separate management or multiple instances.

The Packet Core solution is completely unique in terms of embedding security within the data plane. It’s fully automated and backed by ML in the form of artificial intelligence. It also requires minimal human intervention – all of which result in millisecond level mitigation of even advanced threats.

Opening up a new horizon for telecoms and carriers

The implication of security built into the DNA of the 5G infrastructure is huge for the telecommunication industry.

For one, the resiliency brought in by an integrated security solution ensures that the infrastructure is strong enough to reconfigure and re-spawn itself in case of an attack and continue to function with minimal impact on latency.

It also offers granular security by monitoring all connections with full visibility and can detect threats as they appear and take corrective action – ensuring minimal human intervention and mitigation of attacks in milliseconds. It’s integrated with automation systems and can easily scale to keep pace with higher traffic volumes.

Implementing an integrated security solution will result in lower TCOs for service providers. That, by itself, should be a huge benefit for companies negotiating various partnerships to negotiate the high costs of implementing 5G infrastructure. But it holds out scope for something much more important.

In effect, this innovation can finally offer what telecoms and carriers have been craving for years – a solid differentiator in terms of the value they offer to customers. The pricing battle that telecoms and carriers have been stuck in for years can finally end as they choose to evolve to offer more premium offerings to meet the core demand of many customers on faster networks – complete, reliable security in mission-critical applications.

Eventually, we might see security-as-a-service being bundled as a value add-on to service packages, but given the current threat landscape, security can be the differentiator that sets apart exceptional enterprise service providers from the rest.

I want to thank Folke Anger and Yasir Liaqatullah, and all the wonderful people at Ericsson Digital Services for making this interview possible. Please tune in to the conversation at the link below, and use the other resources to learn more about the technology and innovations we discussed.

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Next-Gen Networks & 5G, Facilitating Enterprise Business Transformation

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Enterprise Business Transformation

The prospective industrial network is taking the same route as that of Operations Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). Varying from WAN and LAN, holding a third-party network to outsource cloud-based SaaS solutions via public clouds.

Presently, the sole aim of most organisations is to acquire real Business Operations Transformation while acquiring more significant business concessions, ROI from network technologies acquisitions, and services sustaining their business core.

Perhaps I can witness the enterprise IT transformation, as the businesses have been continually developing systems, indulging in crafting designs, plans and following the trial and error to roll out Private Converged enterprise networks, with a motive to leverage 5G in particular, regardless of their size and shape. 

But what’s unfortunate is the challenges the enterprise business transformation has brought along due to a lack of experience and skills. This frequently leads the HR departments of the enterprises to struggle while sourcing in-house expertise and understanding of digital enterprise transformation networks. As a result, the challenges bind them to bring those powers to their organisations from the market for a Partner of Choice. 

The difficulties enterprises face when embracing and operating consolidated digital enterprise transformation networks, and 5G solutions are the expertise, as these aren’t their core business. Instead, they ought the suited technology and telecoms counterpart to function with to yield flourishing results.

I recently hosted and mediated a live-stream discussion featuring two globally leading telecom executives, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient, and Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation. Horizon Power, for Cyient, titled CXO Cyience – Designing Networks of Tomorrow.” 

Our conversation was near and around the emerging transition in converged networks as enterprise IT transformation by assembling their own remote converged networks. Our discussion also covered some of their distinctive insights and stances on conceiving a savvy infrastructure. 

Though there wasn’t much that we could cover in our short conversation, after concluding our live stream, I realised that there were two major takeaway points that I believed needed to be heightened for you people. So here are two essential highlights I brought away from our live-stream event and what Aashu and Ray had to articulate on each matter when I requested them both to confer on them.

Takeaway #1

Early adopters witness prospects for instantaneous triumphs, and early adopter yields from Next-Generation Networks mainly fused personal networks across firms, which are usually prepared to leverage 5G, are flaring up prospects on multiple fronts, resulting in the advancement of creative business prototypes as new use cases for Customer and Business conditions arise.

I’m witnessing an inflated number of prospects for corps to attain influential Enterprise Business Transformation via Next Generation Networks by embracing new functioning models and use cases that access the technology that enables consolidated and Next Generation Networks.

Undoubtedly, this was conferred in profundity during our live-stream affair. Still, I felt there was more that my ace visitors could convey, so I contacted Ray and Aashu Virmani and requested them to elaborate the topic with instances of where they are witnessing possibilities for both prompt victories and early adopter returns. So here is what they had to state:

“Cyient is internally organised across ten industry verticals, from Communications to Utilities, Mining, Rail, Aerospace, and Medical – just to name a few. Within the past six months, we’ve seen over a dozen of our clients, with whom we were previously engaged for their vertical-specific use cases, start initiatives around communications and developing their own private networks — all in the context of their own enterprise transformation. More and more, we are recognizing internally how our Communications business is fast becoming ‘horizontal’ across all of our other verticals when it comes to private networks. We are simultaneously engaging with our CSP customers to help them develop and expand their implementation practices around offering private networks to their enterprise accounts.”, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient.

“Quick wins are a great and important way to prove out and demonstrate the value of next-generation network investments, and certainly in the space we occupy there is no shortage of examples. For example, five years ago, we installed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to underpin our Smart Grid goals and objectives. Initially, we used it to collect, send, and analyse consumer energy consumption data. Since then, we’ve leveraged the same data sets to automatically detect neutral integrity issues. Looking to tomorrow, we want to leverage the abilities of our AMI infrastructure to self-heal, support demand-side DER management, and enhance energy efficiency.”, Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation, Horizon Power.

Takeaway #2

The content of architecture industries can currently think when enforcing personal networks persists in flaring up assertive new prospects for enterprise business transformation. Multiple believed the things of telcos & carriers are now obtainable to enterprise consumers across the range.

The emphasis now is not solely to construct it correctly the foremost time, but likewise, construct it ‘intelligently’ so that process & administration evolves actually and efficiently.

Corps have become ever more critical to find the best probable Partner of Choice to defend them to accomplish such transformative developments. But, unfortunately, it is not usually the core business for most institutions to enforce, function, or drive Next Generation Networks.

Similarly, I conferred this extensively with my visitors during our live-stream event. Still, I desired to proffer my ace visitors the chance to convey more on this. So I requested them to elaborate the topic with instances where they witness prospects. So here is what they had to convey:

“When it comes to intelligent network architectures, an important learning for us was that it’s not simply a case of one size fits all. If you focus on your use cases, then the right architecture/s become apparent. Once we resolved that, it was exciting to see other opportunities emerge. For example, in our case we started by looking at a use case that supported our Operational requirements, however, we subsequently realised that the architecture that emerged from this, offered support for a wide range of use cases we hadn’t considered that sat outside of our Operations group and that these particular use cases offered us the potential to develop a significant new revenue stream. In an environment where there is considerable pressure on costs and revenues, opportunities such as this are game-changing.”, Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation, Horizon Power.

“Developing the right architecture for a private network depends on the eventual use case (or cases) the customer is attempting to solve, and which of the following six criteria are most important drivers: coverage, latency, density, QoS, security, and cost. The right architecture, and which OEMs we use for the customer depends on which variables we are attempting to optimise, and can range between being an extension and densification of the CSP network at the enterprise premises, to being a completely air-gapped stand-alone network owned and managed by the enterprise, to a hybrid between these two extremes. The important thing to realise is that no two networks are equal because the business problem for a mining customer may be drastically different from that of a manufacturing plant owner. Having an understanding of various industry verticals gives us an advantage when it comes to tailoring a solution that is optimal for a customer.”, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient.

What I can conclude from what I was able to absorb and comprehend based on my prior knowledge about the related topic and the insights I received from our hearty discussion is that it is time to act as those waits are surely going to miss the opportunities that early adopters and next-gen network embracers are going to avail cause of begin, not just early but skilful birds.

Besides, please do listen via the link below if you haven’t already tuned into the exclusive panel conversation I had with Ray and Aashu. I look ahead to resuming this discussion with Ray, Aashu, and the crew at Cyient in the future.

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Stacey Marx, AT&T on Retail and Small Business

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I caught up with Stacey Marx, President, National Business & Channels, AT&T Business on camera, to discuss the recent success stories around how AT&T Business have worked with and supported their customers through the last 12 to 18 months now leading up to, and during the global #COVID19 pandemic.

In her role as president of National Business & Channels, Stacey leads a team of over six thousand professionals, dedicated to partnering with over three million small and medium business customers, to help them achieve growth and maximise their potential with technology innovation by leveraging the broad range of products & services AT&T Business can offer.

In this fireside chat we cover some of the latest trends, business & technology challenges and opportunities small business operators should be considering as they look at the road forward coming out of a pandemic.

We kicked off with my usual “get to know you”, Stacey shares insights into her role, the remit and challenges of “a day in the life of Stacey Marx”, as well as a look into what her business unit is responsible for, and some details around the team and ecosystem around them, and their customer base, giving us a great view of her world and the amazing depth and breadth of what she and her team bring to the market.

A Q&A with Stacey Marx on Retail and Small Businesses

Our conversation then delves into the challenges that businesses leaders, especially within small businesses, face in a post-pandemic world, and how technology is key to meeting these challenges, and specifically three key focus areas which I’ve been keen to discuss with Stacey for a while – including:

#1 – The challenges SMB retail leaders face in a post-pandemic world

In this segment I share that in my view, if there was one industry other than healthcare which has carried more than its fair share of the burden to see society through the last year and a half, surely it is the Retail sector.

I also ask Stacy what challenges she and her team are seeing retailers in particular face as they plan now for a post-pandemic world, especially those small and medium-sized businesses who may have fewer resources.

#2 – What can the Retail industry do to address these various challenges

Around this key point, I ask Stacey where SMB players should be looking for ways and means to map their route out of their current state, to putting people, technology and telecommunications at the forefront of their strategic direction to address these key challenges.

#3 – How is AT&T Business helping the Retail industry leverage its many offerings

Here I share that I see one of the key challenges for Retailers, particularly for Small business retailers, are being challenged with, is finding the right Partner of Choice to help them gain access to and implement new technologies such as 5G, or ensure they have the right solutions in place for the likes of Cybersecurity, as these capabilities are not their core business.

And I ask Stacey if she could share details around how is AT&T Business helping SMBs leverage your many business, technology & telecommunications offerings, and we look at a number of great customer stories, use cases and real world examples.

We also go on to discuss at high level, a range of other potential use cases Stacey thinks organisations should be looking to.

In particular we look at areas where small business operators perhaps may not currently be taking advantage of, and if there are any outliers that she and her team are seeing which might not be immediately obvious but are high value opportunities for small to medium sized businesses.

We wrap up this great conversation with a view of what do Stacey thinks is coming over the horizon in the next 12 to 18 months, my classic “crystal ball gazing” question, and in particular what small business owners and or decision makers should be considering as they look to the short to medium term future.

Tune in now for all of these amazing topics and more.

This video was made in partnership with AT&T Business.

For more information visit:

AT&T Business website: http://bit.ly/attbusiness​

AT&T Business SMB web portal: http://bit.ly/attsmallbusiness

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Enterprise Mobility Solutions, is your business ready to admire itself?

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Enterprise Mobility Solutions

The pandemic has not only affected healthcare but also has left businesses across the globe struggling in this practically completely altered world that’s boasted with new technologies. Where the tech was just an add on to enterprise mobility solutions for a few, for others, it emerged as an essential enabler for all aspects of their business. Irrespective of the size and importance of tech in past business, we all can relate to the fact that the future of business will be mobile.  

Recently I had a chance to talk to Jason Inskeep, Director, 5G Centre of Excellence at AT&T Business, and share a divine conversation on mobile solutions for enterprise. We spoke on an array of related topics starting right from the scope of changing service function to how 5G will change business and the share of AT&T in it. 

Understanding mobility in the context of Industry 4.0 and COVID-19

COVID-19 has practically changed the way we used to comprehend tech. It has certainly shown us we did rather underestimate its potential. The traditional definition has been eradicated through mobility in use cases. The need of having remote-first workers be connected securely to fetch immediate help to first responders has shifted the connectivity paradigm. 

Software-defined networks had supported us in fulfilling those commitments shown stability in trading with the hasty shift in behaviors and magnitude upsurge when we were in dire need of it.

Further, the inherent resilience and security built into the networks are growing stronger with each passing day. Now we are moving towards finding a solution that would help bridge the securities embedded in different technologies. 

But there’s likewise the subsequent level of a prospect to promote business opportunities while mitigating risks near the ‘welding points’ of data flow – not only into endpoints but likewise in how the edge is connecting.

AT&T Mobility Solutions

Encouraging mobile and secured networking that can be adapted and mounted as per use case

AT&T mobility solutions are devised to bear the idea of enterprise-grade security past the confines of the workplace and furnish them at the point-of-need – wherever business is transpiring. So, irrespective of your location, mobile networking solutions are prepared to furnish the speed, latency, and protection you ought, not just for seamless connectivity but decision-making on the motion in a vibrant environment, where circumstances develop and transform around you every moment.

Best way to enforce 5G? Ignore the G!

Customers are required to unlearn the ‘G’ and consider networking in terms of ‘the journey of the data packet’ to prepare an optimal consumer experience. 

As Jason puts it, “The good news is that the software is virtually ready to handle anything you throw at it. That’s also the bad news.” This implies its upto us to craft new paths and mitigates risks for an optimal 5G consumer experience. 

Use cases will determine the technology instead of the other way round

The potential of 5G is virtually limitless. What’s limiting us is our hesitation to embrace another iteration of networking. The need of the hour is for enterprises to comprehend 5G – not just from a technical viewpoint but operational or a financial standpoint of businesses. 

The continuum of command has developed for businesses, and with the commoditization of the scope, there is a possibility of paralysis by analysis. The trick is to remain calm and embrace the right way to upscale your business!

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