Today, the workforce is mobile. There’s been a spike in use of the Internet of Things and big data analytics. And businesses are shifting more workloads to the cloud. Hybrid cloud infrastructures require comprehensive security policies designed to protect the business applications and workloads being moved to theses clouds.

We join Christina Cheng, assistant vice president, Cloud Networking, AT&T, at the AT&T Technology Leaders Forum in Singapore to find out how enterprises in Asia Pacific can extract more value from their library of cloud services.

AT&T: Christina, what are customers telling you are their top concerns as hybrid clouds grow?

Cheng:  When I ask businesses what concerns them about moving to the cloud, I keep hearing one thing. Security.  IT decision-makers worry about accessing cloud services via the public Internet. And they don’t want their private cloud apps to share servers with other companies. As companies increasingly use mobile and IoT, the number of access points that IT needs to manage has exploded!  I’m also hearing a lot more about the complexity and cost of managing a mix of multiple public and private clouds. In-house cloud expertise is in short supply globally, and Asia Pacific is no exception.

AT&T: How has AT&T responded to these challenges?

Cheng: We created AT&T NetBond to let businesses take advantage of a multi-tenant cloud and avoid using the Internet. AT&T NetBond provides a highly secure connection between an AT&T VPN and leading cloud service providers. In essence, it “bonds” your VPN to your cloud provider. This delivers the network security, performance and control you need. It also lets you easily provision and manage cloud resources and scale your network on-demand.  

AT&T: Can you give us some examples of how businesses are using NetBond?

Cheng: One of our customers needed to process the data it collects from a network of 5,000 vending machines. AT&T NetBond created a highly secure direct connection between its vending machines and the cloud. This protected its traffic from exposure to malware and viruses.

A fast-growing financial services firm needed a highly-secure test and development environment to rapidly build and produce new solutions. The answer was private cloud access; applications could operate in the same environment for both development and production. NetBond delivered performance and network security, and they can scale up and down as needed.

Performance was crucial. And it is for many of our customers. NetBond performs significantly better than the public Internet. Lower latency means is less delay so applications run smoothly. This is particularly important in critical business process apps, like customer relationship management solutions, which require a lot of back-and-forth processing.

Companies using NetBond save, on average, 40% - 50% of the network cost to manage their infrastructure in-house. Use an existing AT&T VPN network saves the cost of extra equipment and access lines used with a direct connection to a cloud provider.

AT&T: What about mobile workers? How does NetBond help you support them?

Cheng: With NetBond, mobile workforces connected by VPN have remote access to cloud services in a highly secure way. We embed network security controls within the AT&T global network itself. Companies can give mobile employees anytime, anywhere access without compromising security or the mobile experience.

AT&T: What’s new in AT&T NetBond this year?

Cheng: The AT&T NetBond ecosystem now includes 14 highly valued cloud providers, and provides AT&T NetBond access to 19 leading cloud services. This year, we’ll continue to grow the ecosystem and introduce more AT&T NetBond feature enhancements.

For example, our new AT&T Network-Based Firewall adds a network-based firewall between the AT&T VPN and AT&T NetBond-enabled cloud service providers. This firewall gives customers more control and protection for the information and applications transmitted to supported cloud platforms.

We’re also designing our services to meet the high service quality requirements our customers need.  That means we support service level agreements with 99.9% service availability and network latency of 39.5ms or less.