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NFV Tests & Trials

Putting Virtualized Security to the Test

Of all the challenges associated with the virtualization of communications service provider networks, security is the one that generates the most heated discussions and diametrically opposed views.

Some believe that introducing SDN capabilities to enable a programmable network and the deployment of virtualized network functions (VNFs) will make networks more susceptible to attacks and easier to bring down. Others maintain that attacks and problems will be easier to quickly and automatically isolate and work around. The debate continues.

That makes the recent independent evaluation of Cisco's "threat-centric" security solutions by Light Reading's regular test lab partner European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) of topical and prime importance. Cisco gave a range of its physical and virtual security products to EANTC for evaluation, to see if they stood up to the challenges associated with attacks on traditional, virtual and hybrid networks.

The resulting report, due to be published on Light Reading next week, looks set to be compelling and should be of interest to every single network operator in the world: After all, which fixed, mobile, cable, video or any other kind of network operator isn’t wondering right now how they will secure their networks as virtualization capabilities are added?

And having spoken to the team at EANTC, I know they were very engaged with the evaluation process, which looked at the "before, during and after" processes associated with defending against and preventing security breaches, so the test team looked at the options from all angles.

Of equal importance to the results and conclusions, of course, is finding out how EANTC went about the job of evaluating Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s security portfolio. What makes EANTC's test reports so valuable is that the team of experienced engineers that visit companies such as Cisco are fiercely independent -- they report what they find.

So look out for the test report and watch out for the related reporting and announcements out of MWC in the coming days -- topics don't get much hotter than next-generation network security.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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