AT&T, CenturyLink to offer classified cyber-threat information to businesses

AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) on Monday became members of a U.S. program that will enable them to extend classified cyber threat information to their business customers as part of a broader security services bundle.

Eric Rosenbach, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, told Businessweek the Pentagon already provides classified information on threats to the Department of Homeland Security, which then will give it to companies that have the necessary approvals.

Rosenbach added that other companies would like to use the program to protect their critical data.

This initiative comes after Congress in November tried to pass a law that would require electric utilities and telecom providers to incorporate voluntary security standards into their operations. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce maintains that the proposed standards could create a stifling set of regulations.

With the Defense Industrial Base Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program, U.S. companies would be able to get information on cyber threats that was previously only available to government and defense agencies.

Linda Johnson, a spokeswoman for CenturyLink, told Businessweek they are "seeing strong demand from private companies" but would not reveal who those companies are.  

AT&T, however, has not given any details about its involvement in the new initiative.

Still, the program is growing. Since being initially launched in 2009 as way for the Pentagon and defense contractors to share unclassified information on data loss and network security, the program includes 71 participating companies with another 22 looking to join the program.   

Both AT&T and CenturyLink serve very large U.S. and global business customers with a broad set of managed security and cloud capabilities. Having the added ability to sell classified information on threats--especially to large multinational companies--could provide another level of trust and differentiation for service providers as they help customers drive more of their data into the cloud.

For more:
- Businessweek has this article

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