The modern IT security threat landscape is varied and complex, and no one vendor on its own can entirely secure against all threats. That reality has prompted Trustwave and Akamai to join together in a partnership alliance to promote and sell each other's technology and services.
Financial terms of the new partnership are not being publicly disclosed, though the two firms are talking about the technologies from each company's portfolio that will be key to the new alliance.
"Trustwave and Akamai have agreed to market and sell each other's services and solutions," Steve Kelley, senior vice president of product and corporate marketing at Trustwave, told eWEEK. "As part of these programs, the companies are already collaborating on positioning and go-to-market plans that will support cooperation across their worldwide sales and marketing organizations."
Kelley added that each company will also train and certify appropriate field and operations staff to provide the support and service to joint customers.
Akamai Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brad Rinklin noted that the products sold are not technically joint solutions. Rather, Akamai now has the right to sell certain services from Trustwave while Trustwave can sell distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and Web application protection from Akamai.
The new partnership comes at an interesting time as Trustwave recently announced that it is being acquired by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) in a deal valued at $810 million. The Trustwave services that Akamai can now sell include the Trustwave Managed Security Testing offering as well as the Trustwave Incident Response and Readiness services.
"While we have discussed joint development and there are definitely complementary technical intersections of our portfolio, no formal roadmap has been committed to," Rinklin said.
Akamai has had a business relationship with Trustwave for a couple of years, and with this agreement they are formalizing a relationship, according to Rinklin.
Kelley noted that with cyber-security becoming more important than ever for enterprises and content providers, there are natural synergies between Trustwave and Akamai that both organizations recognized as a catalyst for a strategic partnership.
While there are some small areas of overlap between the overall product portfolios at Akamai and Trustwave, Rinklin emphasized that the two companies have been focused on different market segments.
"We are partnering where the portfolios complement themselves the most," he said.
Trustwave and Akamai have a highly complementary portfolio that makes the new solutions an additive to a joint go-to-market model, Kelley said.
"Trustwave customers will now be able to benefit from Akamai's cloud-based DDoS protection services," he said. "Trustwave is augmenting its WAF [Web Application Firewall] portfolio with another comprehensive, simple and efficient deployment option, which can be used by itself or as a hybrid model with an on-premises WAF."
Trustwave is one of the leading contributors to the open-source mod_security WAF effort and also has its own commercial WAF services. Akamai's Kona Site Defender is also a WAF technology and can make use of mod_security based rules.
"Trustwave customers may need certain components of the Site Defender platform to complement their existing Trustwave deployments," Kelley said.
A key element that Akamai adds to the equation is its Content Delivery Network (CDN) capabilities that go beyond basic WAF to enable DDoS protection. Kelley noted that WAFs in general were not meant to stop DDoS attacks by themselves. With DDoS attacks nearing 200Gbps in attack bandwidth, the hardware necessary for a WAF to handle DDoS would be financially wasteful and overkill for Trustwave's customers, he said.
Trustwave already has a capability called WAF Excessive Access Rate (EAR) controls, which Kelley explained enables customers to set a rule to allow for only a certain number of hits over a period of time and then shut down access from that particular IP address.
"By adding Akamai to the solution mix, customers will have an on-demand service that leverages the cost-efficiency and distributed architecture of the Akamai network, providing greater value than massively oversizing hardware of another WAF vendor," Kelley said.
Looking forward, Akamai and Trustwave's partnership is likely to continue to evolve in the coming months and years.
"There are a multitude of threat intelligence and technology integration that will enhance Trustwave's and Akamai's services," Kelley said. "We expect to announce those future developments as they become generally available in the marketplace and to our customers."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.