October 03, 2023

Certified Security: New Third-Party Program Providing Standards-Based Validation for Networking Edge Services

Mike Troiano
Mike Troiano Senior Vice President – Business Products, AT&T Business

Program aims to establish the gold standard on certifying cybersecurity protections for the next-gen network services fueling the business digital transformation trend 

The pace of workplace evolution has been steadily accelerating for more than a decade. Then the global pandemic injected nitrous into the engine of digital transformation and mobilization – by 2024, 75% of workers will no longer have a dedicated desk phone, according to Gartner. This is a massive shift in our customers’ digital infrastructure with networking services at the center of it all.

Companies are increasingly mobile-first, multi-cloud dependent, and urgently concerned about cyberattacks. Software-defined networking, a model we embraced over a decade ago, makes our network agile and responsive for enterprises. But, as digital architecture gets more flexible, diverse, and distributed – clouds, hardware components, IoT devices – customers need to know that every element is secure and protected: the whole and the parts.

Enterprise customers want cybersecurity certainty

Standards are a useful yardstick for measuring cybersecurity protections. But how do you know if your provider is meeting those standards? Taken together, standards and validation of adherence to them can give enterprise customers the confidence they want when it comes to implementing next-gen network edge services. Network edge services have evolved and grown so quickly, our industry hasn’t had a way to validate that our edge services and the underlying networking architecture and related capabilities meet independent, third-party security guidelines.

Until now.

We’re proud to help spearhead a new initiative led by MEF – a global industry association of network, cloud, security, and technology providers – to independently certify cybersecurity protections for networking services. These include software-defined area networks, network edge services, and Zero Trust Architectures.  These Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networking products and services provided by program participants will be tested, evaluated, and rated against new and existing standards developed by MEF and the industry. This will be the gold standard for cybersecurity validation when it comes to next-gen network services.

Importantly, the SASE products and services are being tested independently, in a lab environment, by CyberRatings.org, a non-profit member organization dedicated to providing visibility and transparency on the effectiveness of cybersecurity products and services.

Industry heavyweights

We’re joined in this effort by other industry leaders like Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Versa Networks, VMware, and Zscaler. We expect broader participation across the networking industry and its larger ecosystem of product and service providers once the beta program completes in the first half of 2024.

We operate globally, with networking services like SD-WAN often deployed across customer sites around the world. We’ve always prioritized the customer experience.  We believe a rigorous certification program will provide even greater confidence that our cybersecurity services are delivering. That trust is essential for businesses placing big bets on the digitization of their operations, no matter how far-flung they may be.

At AT&T, we’re “all in” to help our enterprise customers seize the advantages of digital transformation with cybersecurity protections that are measured and validated. They trust us to get the job done, and we’re ready to prove it.

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