XO adds security to its growing cloud service portfolio

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XO Communications (OTC BB: XOHO) has introduced a new cloud-based security solution that allows its business customers to put the management of their network security into the hands of a service provider so they can focus on their core vertical business.

Because the new security applications are delivered through the XO network as a security-as-a-service offering, the Enterprise Cloud Security solution allows businesses to forgo the option of buying premise-based security equipment. Customers that sign up for the service will also be able to manage their service through an online management portal that provides visibility across the network and the ability to quickly secure new locations and make changes to security policies.

To ensure constant uptime, XO has placed Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT) security devices on its IP/MPLS backbone in Chicago and Washington DC and blade-level redundancy. XO's security-as-a-service capabilities include: network-based firewall to intrusion detection and prevention, a web gateway for web and content filtering, and remote access to the corporate network. The new solution will be priced on an aggregate model that measures how much bandwidth XO is protecting with the opportunity to add other components such as web and content and filtering as needed.   

This cloud-based service approach will likely resonate well with multi-location companies that want to reduce the costs of buying, installing and managing IT and network equipment across their enterprise networks. Traditionally distributed vertical market segments such as finance, healthcare and retail will be able to take advantage of security services without the hassle of managing and maintaining network equipment at each of their respective locations.

That's not to say that XO is abandoning its popular premise-based product. "We have a managed security product today that's CPE-based and we're not getting rid of that product since there's customers want the CPE on their premise, while others want a hybrid with protecting most of the sites and have a firewall at the headquarters site that's protecting web or mail," said Mark Saffell, director of product management in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We can do a hybrid with some cloud and some CPE-based."

To deliver the new solution, XO is not going it alone. The service provider is partnering with StillSecure, a professional managed security service provider, which will conduct an initial consultation and then conduct necessary network security monitoring and management.

"StillSecure is our trusted partner to go to market with this because they are experts in network security with customers like the federal government," Saffell said. "We're really good at the pipes and the network, you want from a security standpoint you want a partner that's really good at security since it's not something you can learn overnight."

XO continues to be gaining traction in the cloud services market, having already launched its cloud-based VoIP service, the new managed cloud-based security solution.

Going forward, Saffell said that its latest cloud offering if just one of many new offerings it plans to introduce over the next year. "We'll have a managed backup product in the next few weeks and we other other things we're going to introduce in 2011 and 2012, including mobile communications, Unified Communications and a managed server offering," he said.

For more:
- see the release

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