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Bell launches security division

'Threats keeping pace with technology.'


April 1, 2005  


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Bell Canada has launched Bell Security Solutions Inc. (BSSI), a new division that the telecommunications giant says will provide enhanced network and information security initiatives for communications networks to Canadian business and government.

“We are seeing more and more customers migrating to an IP platform to increase productivity and reduce costs,” said Isabelle Courville, president of Bell Canada Enterprise Group. “With the launch of BSSI, Bell offers a set of IP security applications through a single point of contact.”

Security, said Charles Salameh, president of BSSI, is a mission critical function and requires tailored and integrated solutions,

“Threats have kept pace with advances in technology,” he said. “In the year 2000, there were some 21,000 reported viruses. Three years later, that number was nearly six times that amount.”

According to the CERT Coordination Centre, based at Carnegie Mellon University, in 2000, there were 21,000 reported virus incidents.

Three years later, the number was more than six times higher. In 2002, the worldwide cost of worms and viruses was estimated at $45 billion, however similar costs were seen in August 2003 alone, and annual costs are expected to rise 300% year over year.

“Enterprise customers are increasingly looking to technology partners who can provide end-to-end solutions and not just individual pieces of the puzzle,” said Zeus Kerravala, vice president, enterprise infrastructure with the Yankee Group.

The new division will offer security advances that include predictive technologies that profile the behaviour of network saboteurs, biometric scanning and smart tags that track inventories from manufacturing to end customer

The Canadian security market was valued at approximately $1 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2007.

Bell says key market drivers include continuing escalation of threats, vulnerabilities and risks (i.e. viruses, spam, spyware), accelerating attack propagation resulting in downtime, extension of the network perimeter to include partners and mobile workers, and regulatory compliance such as the Personal Information Protection and Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

“Today, the IP security world is way more than just computer viruses,” said Salameh. “As our world becomes increasingly more networked, ever more powerful digital applications are possible. But all that growth and power, creates a terrific increase in security exposure and vulnerability.”

There is, he added, a need for proactive, intelligent and instantaneous security measures because security can not be looked at in isolation of the network that the information and content rides on.

A study released last year by industry research firm IDC revealed that while head offices generally have deployed a wide range of critical IT security products and services, branch office deployment is more limited. The study also found that PC and perimeter protection dominate purchasing plans for this year, while Identity Management is currently being evaluated by many large organizations.

BSSI has organized itself into three portfolios — professional services, managed security solutions and sales.

According to IDC, 25% of large businesses and 50% of mid-sized businesses have no metrics to measure security performance from a network standpoint. Moreover, only 32% of large businesses and 10% of mid-sized businesses actually track IT downtime as a result of security breaches, suggesting that the majority of the market is unaware of the cost to the business.

Meanwhile, a recent Forrester Research survey found that 40% of respondents have invested security dollars on the wrong risks and threats and that their security budgeting process is flawed.