RealTime IT News

AT&T Boosts Corporate Security, Availability Services

In a nod to the increased need for security and contingency services, AT&T announced Tuesday a line up of programs designed to alleviate corporate concern over far-flung Internet operations.

AT&T executives consider security to be one of their top priorities, as big businesses grasp the fact that security breaches can result in huge financial losses down the road. Numerous email bugs, like last weeks "Goner" worm, which continues to plague Microsoft Outlook users and others worldwide.

Gary Hilbert, AT&T vice president of high availability and security services, said that downtime equals lost revenues for many companies and AT&T's new services can alleviate most customer security worries.

"These days, downtime and lost data mean lost revenue," he said. "By addressing the full range of simple to complex business needs for security, availability and recovery, AT&T ensures clients uninterrupted access to their business networks, operations and mission-critical processes and applications."

To address Internet security concerns, AT&T enhanced its virtual private networking (VPN) service for wide area networks (WANs), promising secure routing through its 18 data centers at any speed needed. They also secured their 2,200 POP servers in 850 cities nationwide so traveling business people and telecommuters can dial into a local secure line.

Shoring up the defenses of these remote users, AT&T also demonstrated to a crowd of onlookers at the Internet World Fall 2001 trade show its proprietary anti-virus software. Similar to such brand names as Norton Antivirus and McAffee, Ma Bell's solution looks for wide variety of security holes and application software and patches them up so they are secure.

Mike Jenner, AT&T vice president of Global IP network services, said many businesses don't have the time or in-house knowledge to address the many threats to corporate security, making AT&T outsourced service the logical alternative.

"AT&T is helping enterprises cost-effectively and more efficiently manage their VPNs by increasing the number of ways VPN users can access their hosted applications and by reducing the risk of security breaches that can compromise network security," he said.

It also works out well for AT&T, as they migrate more and more data services to their own networks, a move that helps out Ma Bell's pocketbook and reduces the number of points where a malicious hacker or renegade employee can access the corporate intranet.

With managed IP security (IPSec) encryption and a host of network engineers at data centers located around the U.S., AT&T is one of very few companies that can get away with providing the nationwide service level guarantees it does.

In the unlikely but possible event of a catastrophe or company power loss, AT&T rolled out its hosted Ultravailable and load balancing services, which allows businesses to back up their mission-critical data on any number of media. Located at one of AT&T's data centers, companies can either store all their data primarily at the site or have AT&T perform periodic tape backups, data mirroring and other backup and restore services.

AT&T officials say the service is made for companies that want to protect certain types of information, like database or e-commerce information, but don't want to store it at their own data center or server.

"The reliability, continuity and recoverability of a business' e-infrastructure and applications are critical to the life of that business," said Pat Traynor, AT&T hosting services vice president.

In the event of a company power loss, AT&T load balancing service automatically and simultaneously provides a back up service, guaranteeing "near-100 percent availability of mission critical applications," officials said.