Outsourced security good for ROI

Stretched in-house resources are driving the uptake of managed security services but one IT security provider warns the local market is still a bit like the Wild West.

Despite this, research firm the Yankee Group said up to 90 percent of network security will be outsourced by 2010 in a bid to automate security protection.

Prospective customers, however, should be very selective according to Network Box Australia director Andrew Tune who said the local industry is still a bit like the Wild West.

"There is not a lot of law and order, a lot of colourful characters and a whole lot of people who have been separated from their money in circumstances that could probably be best described as unusual," Tune warned.

"There was a time when every man and his dog were getting into managed security and over the last couple of years there have been a lot of business failures, consolidation and strategic exits. It has reached the point where those who are left are both serious about their business and also competent."

Network Box provides managed perimeter security, a service Tune believes will have the biggest growth in the near future as current managed firewall solutions have their shortcomings.

"We only do managed perimeter security and only do it on one platform and offer a solution of unified threat management (UTM) through providing comprehensive perimeter security, not managed firewalls," he said.

One Australian company which replaced a legacy Frame Relay network with a managed security service is horse blanket manufacturer WeatherBeeta, who has also deployed a managed IPsec VPN from its head office in Australia to offices in New Zealand, the UK and the US, and is soon to include its Shanghai and European offices.

Weatherbeeta's financial services manager, Peter Smith, said while security concerns were the main push to consider an integrated and managed security solution it also offered an efficient way to connect the company's global offices by moving from a private network to an Internet VPN.

"We were not interested in putting the parts together ourselves and I didn't want some sort of best-efforts combination of service from a supplier using someone else's system and we discovered that in terms of the total solution we were after, the offering from Network Box was unique," Smith said.

"We had fully expected improved security, and got it, but the significant improvement in performance was a surprise - the improvement in performance that we've seen by moving from a private network to Internet VPNs has been significant."

Weetherbeeta has installed Network Box rack-mount systems in the Melbourne, UK and US offices as well as a SOHO system in the New Zealand office, and believe that up to $100,000 will be saved annually on telecommunications costs alone.

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