RCN Business serves up NFV-based managed security, monitoring service for fiber customers

RCN Business has debuted a cloud-based Managed Security offering, signaling the competitive provider's movement into virtual NFV services for business customers.

Leveraging Versa Networks' platform, the new service will be available to business customers that use RCN Business' fiber-based services like Ethernet. It will allow businesses to manage information security and monitor their users' network activity.

RCN says that what sets their first cloud-based security service apart from others is that it can secure all types of traffic and information, including not just HTTP-based web traffic, but also best practice security capabilities on all the traffic types between the data center and the branch via NFV.

Regardless of their size, small and large businesses are facing the challenge of handling information security.

But the problem is that traditional hardware-based solutions that businesses used to provide protection of their data are often too expensive and complex to manage across multiple locations. These solutions require large capital investments in equipment and software, as well as operating expenses and resources to deploy, configure and continually optimize.

Since RCN Business Managed Security is delivered from the cloud, businesses can eliminate the management and capital costs associated with traditional security solutions.

Leveraging software-defined security (SD-Security) from Versa Networks, RCN Business Managed Security provides businesses with the protection capabilities of enterprise security solutions like next-generation firewalls and unified threat management, while greatly simplifying deployment, operations and monitoring at branch office sites.  

"What RCN Business working with Versa designed was full functioned next-gen firewall that's fully available as cloud-based service with no hardware or CPE required," said Mark Weiner, CMO of Versa, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "There's nothing on the hardware, nothing on the desktop, and it's purely cloud-based and manageable from a single portal on a single screen with a single monthly fee per site."

RCN Business Managed Security offers three layers of protection: standard and next-generation firewalls; application- and activity-based control of users' internet access; and network monitoring with application-level visibility.

Pete Jacoby, VP of network services for RCN Business, said that while the service provider considered offering a premises-based solution, a cloud-based option enabled it to more rapidly scale the new service.

"We wanted to get into offering security to existing and new customers and as we looked at it we said 'do you ship everybody an appliance and partner with Citrix or Barracuda or we could put our own commodity off the shelf hardware in the customer site,' but that did not seem much better," Jacoby said. "Over a year ago we met with Versa and their platform offered the ability to provide a complete cloud-based solution, which is very easy for us to deploy and manage."

RCN Business' new service suggests the competitive provider will implement a virtual strategy throughout its network.

Providing virtual managed services is nothing new for RCN Business. Previously, the service provider launched a managed LAN service that allows businesses to manage their Hosted Voice and Ethernet products. Similar to the managed security offering, managed LAN allows business customers to configure, deploy, monitor and manage the RCN Voice/Ethernet switch.

"We look at this product as a way to offer more to that same customer so the managed security product will be available to all of our fiber customers, and it builds on products we already have," Jacoby said. "We already do managed router and do managed LAN so managed security is a natural extension of that."

Jacoby added that the managed security service gives RCN Business "a chance to offer more to the customer, get them taking more services, be of more value and reduce churn."

What about other virtual services like SD-WAN? Jacoby would not provide a specific timeline, but said that it is a concept they are considering.  

"It's something we're watching very closely," Jacoby said. "Obviously, our Ethernet private line and Ethernet LAN products serve that need in a physical sense today, but Versa is capable of that so we see no reason to stop here."

Jacoby added that while RCN Business is just announcing managed security, "we're very aware of the software's capabilities and we also have our ear to the ground on what our customers are asking for, so we hope this to be the start of something rather than a one and done product announcement."

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
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RCN Business plans to pursue new near-net fiber business opportunities in 2016
RCN Business broadens New Jersey data center reach via Cross River Fiber channel partnership
RCN Business extends fiber services to Telehouse's NYC data center
RCN Business jumps into the 100G Ethernet game

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