In September, Comcast Business became the first service provider to boot up Akamai's new cloud-based Security and Personalization Services (SPS) Secure Business solution.
Comcast Business is using Akamai’s SPS Secure Business as part of its new Comcast Business SecurityEdge cloud-based internet cybersecurity solution for small businesses. Akamai's SPS Secure Business security service is targeted at the under-served small and medium-sized market (SMB) that typically doesn't have the IT resources that large enterprises have to deal with cyberattacks.
Akamai’s SPS Secure Business service is largely the result of its purchase of Nominum two years ago, according to John Arledge, senior director of product management for Akamai’s media and carrier division. With Nominum in hand, Akamai is now able to use on-premise software that's optimized in its cloud.
The white label SPS Secure Business service is a fully managed, cloud-based service that Comcast is buying from Akamai and delivering to its end users under the Comcast brand.
The managed network service provides cybersecurity protection across Comcast WiFi routers and any devices, such as laptops, IoT cameras, and printers, that those WiFI routers serve.
Continuously updated DNS-based threat intelligence provides dynamic defenses against a wide range of cyberattacks – from ransomware and malware to botnet and phishing campaigns. Optional content filters let SMBs enforce acceptable use policies to align internet use with their business needs.
"The main values to the SMBs are protection against phishing, malware, botnets, and viewing unacceptable content in the workplace," Arledge said. "There's no software downloaded onto devices or onto the router. It's totally in the network itself. One of the big advantages for SMBs is that they don't have to administer software. They don't have to download updates and do upgrades."
Comcast Business is taking aim at serving the SMB sector, often at the expense of telcos. The SMB sector has been challenged by the lack of cybersecurity options to protect their point of sale systems and in-building devices. The National Small Business Association reported in a recent study that 47% of small business owners manage cybersecurity themselves, 22% have a staff member manage it, and 6% don’t have anyone responsible for managing security at all
A separate survey conducted by the U.K. government found 42% of small businesses identified a cybersecurity breach in the previous year, and 74% say cybersecurity is a high priority for senior management.
In addition to providing SMBs with enterprise-grade security defenses by working with Akamai, Comcast Business is also able to generate additional revenues by charging businesses $30 per month for the service.
“Cybersecurity and the dynamic nature of potentially disruptive cyberthreats are among the key challenges that business owners must contend with in today’s hyperconnected world,” said Comcast Business' Shena Tharnish, vice president, cybersecurity products, in a statement. “Using Akamai’s SPS Small Business solution, Comcast Business developed an affordable cybersecurity solution for our small business customers with Comcast Business SecurityEdge, which helps customers defend against security threats like malware and bots as they focus on running and growing their businesses.”
Arledge said that Akamai is also targeting telcos, mobile phone carriers and other service providers for its SPS small business solution.
"We're getting quite a bit of interest around the world for this because our customer base is truly global in nature," he said. "Technically, Comcast is really the first one to get it to market, but we're seeing equal demand from Latin America as well as from Europe."
To date, Arledge said there has been three primary buckets for cybersecurity: The endpoint security companies, such as Norton and McAfee, and companies such as Barracuda, Palo Alto and Fortinet that take a hardware approach for on-premises firewalls for mid-size and up organizations, and cloud-based or over-the-top security for enterprises from the likes of Cisco.
Arledge said that to date Akamai is currently the only vendor offering a cloud-based solution for SMBs. Akamai plans to further develop its SPS Secure Business solutions, but still keep it targeted at SMBs.
"Where we go from here is adding additional functionality for the same market," Arledge said. "Things around better identification of the apps that people are using on their mobile phones, for instance, or identifying the new devices that come on the network very quickly and easily.
"So it's really seamless for that business owner to offer a better customer experience and improving the experience that small businesses have with their service providers as well."