Creating Success Criteria for Service Providers

Creating Success Criteria for Service Providers

Service providers today face some interesting challenges. Regardless of their size, or which vertical or horizontal segment they see as their dominant market, they still have to meet certain criteria in order to remain competitive and successful. I would list these success criteria as Innovation, Acceleration, Security and Scalability. Service Providers face multiple pressures on a regular basis - competition, time to market, assurance and other high-priority dynamic demands. Without these criteria, they will be heavily challenged to stay competitive and find the right resources with the skills and capabilities needed to operate successfully in this challenging global market. 

Innovation: An also-ran, latent Service Provider is, basically, well, boring! I have never worked for a boring company in my life and vArmour is no exception to that rule. A service provider needs to very careful in managing their appearance to avoid being perceived as a boring and faded suitor when compared to the shiny new players in the market. These players create vibrant and relevant services with a strong visual emphasis (showcasing their proposed integrations with various COTS components), making it very hard to shift market  attention to the faded suitor. The imperative then is to keep innovating and leveraging bleeding edge solutions to meet the needs of the market at near warp speed.

Acceleration: The role of the service provider has expanded in recent years, especially for the telco space, where they've had to move from a legacy “telephony and leased lines” model to a quad-play Phone, Mobile, Data, Entertainment model. This has meant a  complete reworking of the overall business model - with new resources being created to process and provide information and capabilities within crunched timescales. A key enabler of this new model is virtualization, allowing businesses to spin up instances in real time to help meet demanding business timelines. Virtualization technology has had a dramatic impact on the Service Provider infrastructure to help effectively crunch their time to market. 

Security: With the drastic reduction in time to market, Service Providers now have to deliver complex solutions in rapid succession. Given that their services are directly tied to customer data, it is essential that these solutions are secured such that the customer data and the Service Providers’ own infrastructure are not placed at a greater risk when meeting these accelerated delivery times. When providing services, it is also imperative that the Service Provider have a clear view into what is taking place within the network, from security, operational and performance aspects. Not having clear visibility within the SDDC can be a major concern, and leads to an inability to identify critical events within the SDDC to effectively alert SecOps or impacted teams. Furthermore, the ability to respond is limited by the toolsets in place to affect control - or assurance - within the environment.

And finally, Scalability: The three criteria converge on one of the biggest challenges for a service provider - how to scale appropriately for new product releases, reliable performance and availability, all whilst maintaining and delivering a secure cost effective operational environment.  With the move into the virtual space, Service Providers can achieve the scalability of resources to meet the demands that the business and their customers put upon them, but to do this in a dynamic and scalable way can be a real challenge. 

This is where vArmour can help: By taking the Service Provider, or any other company running virtual infrastructure, to a higher perspective in terms of how they See, Segment and Secure their environments at scale. vArmour is designed as a solution encompassing the entire software defined data centre - from creating workloads and hypervisors dynamically to tearing them down when needed.  This capability provides a consistent baseline of visibility and assurance all the way up to Application Layer 7. vArmour provides a much clearer way of segmenting workloads using Application Aware Micro-Segmentation - such that each workload can be segmented to allow only specific workload applications, providing controls across the whole of the SDDC. 

In today’s world, incidents are inevitable. The hard reality is that your mitigation response has to be as strong as, if not stronger than, your protection stance - considering your entire data or business is now at stake. As a Service Provider, you ideally want the elusive “single pane of glass” - combining data feeds and sources into a single pool for optimisation of operations and analytics. vArmour can support this goal: sending key data into a SIEM or a data lake of choice, with a number of existing integrations with top industry players. Administration of vArmour can be achieved in a number of ways - we provide a Web UI, a CLI and (authenticated) RESTful API through which your SOC/NOC can configure vArmour with complete access to our configuration schema. This paves the way for evidential enriched automation, giving a closed loop mitigation and response solution.

For service providers, ensuring that your visibility, orchestration and assurance toolset has dynamic application-aware capabilities will be key to meeting the needs of the market in real time and assuring business success.

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