An integrated architecture can help service providers get the upper hand over the ever-increasing range of cyber security threats

I’ve visited RSA, the world’s biggest internet security conference in San Francisco, for the past few years. And it’s really brought home to me how fast the world of cyber security is growing. The number of vendors with stands at the Expo has grown immensely. It almost feels like every year, they open up another hall . At this rate, they’ll need a new venue in a few years’ time…

And we get the same impression from Cisco’s 2017 Annual Cyber Security Report, which underlines how businesses are now using a huge range of different security technology. Two-thirds of companies use more than five security products. Most also use more than five vendors, and some are using more than 50.

Getting cyber security wrong can have devastating effects. So it’s hardly surprising that businesses are investing so much in it.

Our research found that most organisations that experienced an attack lost business opportunities. Four in ten said that those losses were substantial.

Naturally, service providers are among the businesses giving a lot of attention to security. They’ve seen how TV5Monde, one of the largest television operators in France, was taken offline for close to 24 hours while eleven live broadcast channels were showing malicious content by hackers.

But the more different solutions companies invest in, the harder it is to manage them all. The challenge for service providers is to make sure they’re protected against the ever-increasing range of threats, without letting it all spiral out of control.

The huge scale of the demands placed on cyber security teams is indicated by another finding of the report – that 44% of security alerts aren’t investigated.

Many of these may present little danger. But some could have the potential to cause millions of pounds’ worth of damage to systems and reputations.

So how can service providers make sure this doesn’t happen?

Simplicity through integration

The answer lies in taking a more strategic approach – and this is where Cisco can help. We’ve worked hard to bring together a comprehensive suite of best of breed security solutions, that provide both breadth and quality. And crucially, we also have the network expertise to bring them together into an integrated architecture.

One Telecom service provider  that we’ve worked with closely on security is British Telecom (BT). The company was looking to boost its defences after experiencing a 1000% increase in cyber threats over 13 months. We’ve helped them develop an integrated approach, bringing together a firewall and other elements, like our Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System and Advanced Malware Protection

The partnership has enabled BT to stop more threats and brought new business opportunities. They’ve sold the largest cyber strategic security portfolio globally to a nation-state.

Mark Hughes, the chief executive officer of BT Security, says: “I see that BT and Cisco working together will actually deliver real security into increasingly complex and large IT infrastructures across the globe.”

Businesses like BT are realising that, while it’s important to be protected against a wide range of threats, it’s equally essential to make sure all the elements are working together.

Better technology isn’t the whole story – to get the most out of their investment, Telecom, OTT, Media and IT service providers also need to think about the bigger picture.

Find out more about how Cisco is helping BT develop an integrated cyber security architecture.


Yves Padrines

Vice President, EMEAR Sales

Global Service Provider