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Leading Lights Finalists 2015: Most Innovative Security Strategy

Sarah Thomas

Security underpins everything in the communications industry, from the networks operators run, to the equipment they deploy, to the services they offer. That's why it's the single most important trend in networking for the next five years, according to a recent Heavy Reading study.

That's also why Light Reading has added a new category to its Leading Lights awards: the most innovative security strategy awards recognize a service provider and a vendor that have developed the most innovative security strategy during the past year.

We received a lot of well-qualified entries, which was good to see, since security also tends to be a topic that many are reluctant to talk about. That said, there were a few companies that stood out and several themes that emerged amongst our shortlisted winners.

Two of the biggest were security platforms that can keep up with network operators move to virtualization and the cloud and strategies that aren't just addressing one network (cellular, WiFi or cable) or one device (TV, phone or computer) but that encompass them all in recognition that service providers now want to see the whole picture when it comes to their customers.

You can check out the full Leading Lights shortlist here and below are the finalists -- in alphabetical order -- for 2015's most innovative security strategy.

AT&T -- Security Virtualization
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has long been one of the most forward-thinking -- and vocal -- service providers when it comes to security. In the past year, it has also begun taking advantage of its move towards virtualization to improve its cloud and network security in a way that was inspired by botnets themselves. The strategy necessitated moving from network-based security to an untethered virtualized security strategy, including scattering assets, making them ubiquitous into the cloud and embedding security into app runtime systems.

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As AT&T explains it, this approach involves encryption, containerized technology for remote wiping, proxies as mediation layers between the cloud and users, and run-time virtualization of security in the cloud. Security essentially becomes "shrink wrapped" around every cloud application, network asset and data store and can be turned up at the same time a virtual asset is spun up.

These micro-domains complement its security perimeter strategy and keep individual assets safe if the perimeter is breached, which is an all too common problem in mobile enterprises today. With virtualization, AT&T has made security more responsive and cost effective for enterprises.

ECI Telecom -- LightSec Comprehensive Cyber Security Suite
ECI Telecom Ltd. gets credit not only for being one of the first to push optical transport platform security but also for having a comprehensive security strategy that encompasses layers one through seven and works in NFV-driven distributed network models.

The vendor's LightSec Hexagon strategy has six pillars: data with machine-learning algorithms to profile malicious users on-demand; communication to prevent malicious users from exploiting a data transmission; people for account password management and policy enforcement; insight for network and endpoint anomaly detection; platform with an NFV card that plugs into ECI's transport equipment or standalone appliances; and a management system to display and manage security threats.

The lynchpin of ECI's strategy is its NFV-based security engine, which remotely configures and provides various security capabilities based on its location in the network. The vendor says this same engine can be configured to provide SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) DPI in one location and encryption in another.

Next page: Ericsson, Microsemi, Nokia, Verimatrix

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