Windstream Adds PCI Compliance to SD-WAN

Windstream today announced PCI compliance for its SD-WAN service that company officials believe is a marketplace first. It's a significant step because many of the distributed locations and branch offices attracted to SD-WAN for its cost effectiveness want the kind of security for use of credit cards that PCI compliance assures.

In trying to independently verify the "first-to-market" status, Light Reading checked with Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN)'s vendor VeloCloud Networks Inc. , which provides the underlying technology to enable service providers to meet the standards for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Version 3.2 Compliance. According to the vendor, Windstream might have been first to market but there are now at least four service providers globally providing this service.

PCI status is significant for Windstream's focus on the retail segment, for which this status is essential, and for other verticals such as healthcare, professional services and more, says Mike Frane, vice president of product management, since there are very few industries today that don't accept credit cards.

"It means we are able to give our customers an Attestation of Compliance, or AOC, that they can provide their auditors," he says in an interview. "That does two things: It shortens the time of their audit because they no longer have to have their solution audited and it saves them time. And that means less cost for their auditor."

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Even for those who don't have PCI requirements, the certification is important because it means Windstream is committed to a higher degree of security and safety for its SD-WAN than the norm in the market, Frane says.

"It means the traffic is encrypted, it means that the private network we create either over the customer's Internet connection or the MPLS network is safe and secure," he says. Windstream provides another firewall as well and can also provide more wrappers around the data for next-gen firewalls, DDoS mitigation, in addition to the PCI compliance.

Windstream also continues to try to differentiate its SD-WAN product with a variety of management tools, its concierge service and flexible connectivity options, including the ability to spin up virtual SD-WANs in the cloud, currently available on Amazon Web Services.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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