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
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.
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.
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