breaking news

Telstra gets serious with cyber security

September 24th, 2017 | by Grace Chng

Australian telecom firm Telstra is expanding its managed security services with the opening of a third security operations centre (SOC) in Melbourne last month. It aims to offer the latest managed security services at an affordable fee.

To do this, Telstra built its SOC technology platform using open source software. With no licencing costs, Telstra says it can pass the savings to its customers.

The platform also runs advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics software which can plough through the voluminous data and highlight the network traffic anomalies.

Telstra director for global security solutions, Neil Campbell, added that its cyber security analysts will then investigate the highlighted data traffic, confirming to a high degree of certainty and confidence those that could lead to a “bad” event.

“The AI-based technologies can pick out the never-seen-before traffic patterns which could be the start of a new type of cyber threat or attack that has not been registered or experienced anywhere else. Action can then be taken,” he said during a tour of the Melbourne SOC last week.

The multi-million dollar centre was officially opened in August. Telstra did not reveal its investment in the SOC.

With two other SOCs in Canberra and Sydney, it is offering managed security services for the Australian government as well as businesses. All the three SOCs are linked via video conference. In a crisis, analysts can talk and see each other to share information.

This is a step towards expanding its cyber security business internationally, tapping into the need by organisations for protection against rising cyber threats and attacks. Next year, it will build its fourth SOC in New York, London and Singapore or Hong Kong.

On the Melbourne SOC technology, Campbell said that the machines can pick up about 80 per cent of probable attacks. He pointed out that these can be just “noise” to distract the cyber defenders from the actual online incursions taking place somewhere else in the network.

“That’s why we need still need analysts. They are highly trained data scientists who can look at the data that counts to discover the real incursions,” he noted.

The Melbourne SOC tour was arranged as part of Telstra Vantage held on Sept 19 and 20, its annual gathering for its customers, media and analysts. This year, there were about 7,000 attendees.

Speaking at a session at the event, Campbell said that Telstra wants to disrupt the managed security services market.

He pointed out that security vendors charge licence fees for using their software. This “technology tax” is passed on to the customers, he noted.

“We think it’s time for change. Because of the costs, only government and big companies can afford managed security services. We are working on a suite of products and services to give enterprise grade security that is affordable,” he added.

“We want to be able to offer these services to all companies including small and medium-sized enterprises so that we can head towards cyber immunity.”

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