Leading Lights 2020 Finalists: Most Innovative Security Strategy

Seven companies – A10 Networks, Axis Security, Keysight Technologies, NetNumber, Plume, Sprint and Synamedia – made the cut in the Most Innovative Security Strategy category.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

July 22, 2020

6 Min Read
Leading Lights 2020 Finalists: Most Innovative Security Strategy

Hackers are utilizing increasingly sophisticated tools to wreak havoc on the network, and in response, service providers and cybersecurity vendors have to stay one step ahead of security threats. While 5G, edge computing and cloud-native applications are delivering unheard of efficiency and speed to network operations, bad actors lie in wait to take advantage of cracks in the walls of these emerging technologies.

The following seven companies have suited up with innovative approaches for tackling the ever-changing threat landscape this year, with the award going to the communications service provider, systems integrator or technology developer that has unveiled the most innovative security strategy during the past year.

The seven companies in the running are:

  • A10 Networks

  • Axis Security

  • Keysight Technologies

  • NetNumber

  • Plume

  • Sprint

  • Synamedia

The Leading Lights winners, and the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced online, on August 21, during a special video presentation on www.lightreading.com, one month before the start of the Big 5G Event.

Figure 1:

Here's a closer look at the companies shortlisted in the most innovative security strategy category:

A10 Networks – vThunder TPS
San Jose-based A10 Networks, which provides virtualized security software and services to enterprises and telcos, continues to add automation to its security tools to take proactive measures against potential security threats and reduce the need for manual intervention. The security supplier recently bolted new DDoS defense mechanisms onto its vThunder TPS platform, including the Zero-day Automated Prevention (ZAP) tool to identify and automatically block zero-day attacks. A10 also added Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools to provide a baseline for customers' networks, and identify and react to anomalous behavior.

Over the last few years, A10 has expanded its security strategy to improve reliability and performance in virtualized, cloud-based 5G networks. Despite broadening its security strategy, A10's efforts were recently shadowed by a few rain clouds – CEO Lee Chen announced plans to exit the company last fall, and the company hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch for recommendations on "strategic matters, including a near term exploration of a potential sale or change of control transaction."

Axis Security – Axis Application Access Cloud
Startup Axis Security emerged on the scene in March this year with $17 million in funding from VC firm Cyberstarts, Ten Eleven Ventures' Alex Doll, Fireglass' Dan Amiga and board of director member Michael Fey.

The network security company built a cloud-native platform – Axis Application Access Cloud – to provide customers with a secure connection to private applications. Axis claims the service can be utilized on any device to connect users in minutes, without the need for network changes or client software.

In addition, Axis says its Application Isolation Technology provides users with access only to what the customer allows and it closely monitors application communication. Axis' Adaptive Access Technology also constantly monitors risks and "restricts access against real-time policy with every user request," which the company claims is a simpler and more secure approach than VPNs.

Axis Security boasts several Fortune 500 customers, and in June was identified as a Representative Vendor in Gartner's Market Guide for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Zero-trust access services, which secure remote access technology for enterprise applications, are front-of-mind in the industry as businesses seek to ensure mobile workers are securely accessing corporate data while under COVID-19 work-from-home orders.

Keysight Technologies – Threat Simulator
In February, Keysight Technologies launched Threat Simulator, a SaaS tool for network and security teams to run simulations that test the strength of their security infrastructure. IT teams can simulate the potential impact of hackers and identify areas of improvement for their security systems. In addition, Threat Simulator provides "continuous, automated security assessment of end-to-end production network security infrastructures," as well as recommendations for addressing gaps in security.

Keysight added additional testing capabilities to the software application layer with the June acquisition of Eggplant, a software test automation platform provider that automates test creation and deployment with artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. The acquisition was valued at $330 million.

NetNumber – NetNumber Fraud and Security
Delivered on its TITAN platform, NetNumber's Security and Fraud applications can be integrated with other TITAN applications such as the multi-protocol signaling firewall. NetNumber also combats robocalling with the NetNumber Centralized Routing Engine and blocks spam calls with Fraudulent Call Blocking.

NetNumber has contributed to standardization work with industry organizations such as GSMA, 3GPP and i3Forum; and contributed to GSMA on standardization of Signaling Firewalls for SS7, Diameter and GTP and the requirements for 5G SEPP. In addition, NetNumber participates in the GSMA working groups FASG and NG, which focus on 5G security, signaling security and data encryption.

In March, Steve Legge, chief operating officer at NetNumber, told Light Reading's Ray LeMaistre that the industry needs to prepare for data management issues that will arise as telcos deploy 5G core systems. NetNumber has provided subscriber data management (SDM) systems to mobile operators for years, and over 200 operators use its SDM and signaling security tools.

Next page: Plume, Sprint and Synamedia

Plume – Plume AI Security suite with Advanced IoT Protection
Plume targets IoT attacks on smart home systems with its AI Security suite and Advanced IoT Protection, which uses AI to identify, monitor and protect connected devices on home networks. Nearly 87% of Plume member households had cyberattacks prevented during a two-week period in February 2020, claims Plume.

Advanced IoT Protection identifies anomalous device behavior and quarantines compromised devices in a virtual LAN to prevent a breach from spreading to other smart home devices; in total, Plume Cloud manages over 700 billion devices.

In February, Plume garnered $85 million in a round of financing from Charter Communications, Qualcomm Ventures, Belkin and Service Electric Cablevision. Light Reading's Phil Harvey spoke with Plume CMO Todd Grantham in May to discuss changes to network traffic patterns as demand for streaming media and entertainment increased due to COVID-19.

Sprint – Sprint Secure
Sprint partnered with security vendors to utilize artificial intelligence, cyber analytics and behavioral data in building Sprint Secure – a service targeting cybersecurity threats in the mobile network. Sprint says the service can reduce false positives from 98% to 15%, accelerate response times from an average of 420 hours to 8 hours, diminish the need for manual intervention on security threats from 70% to 10%, provide continuous diagnostics even off-network, and detect 100% of new threats. Sprint Secure protects against Malware, Ransomware, PowerShell attacks, mobile device phishing and more.

With the merger of mobile titans Sprint and T-Mobile in April, industry eyes will be on T-Mobile to see what aspects of Sprint Secure continue to be utilized moving forward.

Synamedia – Credentials Sharing and Fraud Insight
Synamedia is committed to monitoring the high seas of video piracy with Credentials Sharing and Fraud Insight – a predictive analytics-as-a-service platform that utilizes AI and behavioral analytics to address password sharing and credentials fraud on video services. Synamedia tells subscribers if their credentials have been compromised, and can alert service providers to cases of password sharing.

In addition, Synamedia recently partnered with Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azureto run its software services – such as DVR recording and playback – in the cloud.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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