Level 3 Communications has launched a new service to allow companies that use cellular Internet access as a backup or even primary service to do so securely.
The Level 3 Secure Access Cellular Service is a managed security service that can be used for business continuity purposes or to provide on-demand service in less permanent spaces for Internet access.
It is based on an appliance that Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) provides to its enterprise customers that incorporates a firewall and IPSec tunneling, along with a carrier-agnostic capacity for connecting to cellular networks, explains Chris Richter, Level 3's senior vice president of Global Security Services.
One common application will be for companies, such as retailers, who use DSL lines or other broadband access, and need a reliable backup service. Level 3 Secure Access Cellular Service is designed to automatically switch from a Level 3 virtual private network connection to the cellular backup connection over an LTE network. The company will provide that LTE connection, through negotiated deals with wireless operators, based on which signal is best in a given location, Richter says.
"We will do a site assessment to find out the strongest signal provider and the secondary and then structure agreements with those," he explains. "The service then defaults to the strongest signal provider at any given time. As cellular prices go down, we are seeing some people use this as the primary connection."
Level 3 is launching this service after conducting an extensive beta deployment with a 700-site US retailer. Other common uses include healthcare, for field hospitals and always-on connections, and construction sites, where secure connections are needed in advance of a building's completion.
By offering a secure wireless connection, Level 3 can save companies the cost of deploying two wired connections for redundancy, Richter adds. The service is the latest addition to Level 3's growing portfolio of managed security services.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading