Security Platforms/Tools

CenturyLink's Data Centers Get a New Spin at Cyxtera

CenturyLink's divestiture of its data centers and colocation business last week has given rise to a new company that is not just getting into the hosting and colo business but also sitting at the intersection of two major industry trends: the move to hybrid IT architectures using multiple clouds and the need for new approaches to real-time network and data security.

The new company, Cyxtera Technologies (pronounced Six-tera), was created by private equity firms BC Partners and Medina Capital, who paid $1.86 billion for the CenturyLink assets, and are now combining those 57 global data centers and colocation facilities with four security businesses launched by Medina Capital and its CEO, Manuel Medina. (See Data Center Deals Not Slowing Managed Services Push.)

Cyxtera will be selling its differentiated services to the telecom market, for resale, and potentially to enterprises as well, as a differentiated service for its global data center/colo offerings.

Medina is best known as the founder and CEO of Terremark, the data center company purchased by Verizon, and last week sold to IBM. Since leaving Terremark back in 2012, Medina has focused on the cybersecurity space, creating four companies, each of which is bringing a different perspective to aspects of security including fraud protection, analytics, software-defined perimeter protection/access control, network segmentation and machine learning.

"The vision is to combine security capabilities, which run the gamut from network security access and control to network analytics, deep investigative analytics and services like fraud prevention for financial services, and provide an integrated secure infrastructure," says Simon West, Cxytera CMO. "We want to integrate the security capabilities into the data center product and be able to sell to enterprises, to public sector organizations and to SPs a data center product that has an integrated layer of deep network security and well-differentiated network analytics."

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What Cyxtera plans to deliver is a "software-defined perimeter," building on the CryptZone technology -- that's one of Medina's four security companies. That is a more dynamic and intelligent security service which authenticates users based on multiple factors, including user identity and role within an organization, type of device being used, time of day and application being accessed, West explains.

"And only if all of these tests are passed is access granted and it is granted not to the entire private network but from the user to specific applications they are seeking access to and nothing else," he says. That type of security fits an enterprise IT environment in which workers are more mobile, and need access to specific data and apps to be efficient.

The four security companies -- listed below -- are already selling security software and will continue to do so, West says, but Cyxtera management sees the value of an integrated security/data center offering, that can be used to secure hybrid environments that predominate today.

Cyxtera's Security Companies
Source: www.cyxtera.com
Source: www.cyxtera.com

"If you are a large enterprise and you are running some of your infrastructure on prem, some of it in my data centers and some of it out in a public cloud providers' data center, I want to offer you these services in the form of software or services across all those platforms," he comments.

But West insists Cyxtera isn't looking to compete with telecom operators who are selling managed security services, instead seeing telecom as primarily ripe for strategic partnerships, including reselling Cyxtera's offerings. And while the Cyxtera data centers are already home to "an impressive diversity of carrier connections," management hopes to add more.

Cyxtera starts life with Century as a major customer and reseller of its services, but also 3500 other customers inherited from the deal. CenturyLink retains a 10% stake in the company. West expects the service provider business to be a significant one with the differentiated security offering the major attraction.

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

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