MCI to Offer Managed Security Services

MCI is expected to announce a new set of managed security services, including an intrusion prevention system.

MCI Inc. on Tuesday will announce a new set of managed security services, many of which involve partnerships with vendors such as VeriSign Inc. and MessageLabs Inc.

In addition to traditional services offerings such as mail scanning and managed firewall, the companies plan to offer enterprises the option of a managed intrusion prevention system (IPS), one of the first of its kind in the industry. The hosted IPS service will be based on both Internet Security Systems Inc.s Proventia platform and Juniper Networks Inc.s NetScreen technology.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs analysis of intrusion prevention systems.

The addition of the IPS service to MCIs portfolio is an indication of the continuing maturation of intrusion prevention technology. As little as a year ago, it wouldve been folly for a major carrier to offer such a service, given the relative newness of the technology and the skepticism among many in the security and IT communities about its usefulness. But with major vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc., ISS and Network Associates Inc. betting heavily on IPS, it has gained quite a bit of momentum and credibility in the last six or eight months.

For MCI, the IPS service is just one piece of a strategy that focuses much of the beleaguered companys energy on security.

"This is the first topic were talking about since emerging from bankruptcy, so its obviously at the top of our list," said Bob Blakely, senior product manager for security services at MCI, based in Ashburn, Va. "Were very focused on security and very focused on incorporating security into our network. When you operate arguably the largest IP network in the world, security is inherent in what you do every day."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here for an in-depth analysis of MCIs recent efforts to streamline IT systems and focus on customers needs.

In addition to its new services offerings, MCI also recently announced that it is offering customers a service level agreement for mitigating denial-of-service attacks. The carrier guarantees that it will respond to a customer call about an attack within 15 minutes.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

MCI and VeriSign will be working together on a strong authentication offering to help enterprises quickly deploy digital certificate-based systems for e-mail, VPN access and Web applications. Similarly, MCI will partner with MessageLabs, based in New York, for its managed mail scanning service, which will incorporate anti-virus, content filtering and anti-spam.

And, MCI is adding the ability to manage both NetScreen and Cisco PIX firewalls. The company already manages Check Point Software Technologies Inc. firewalls for some customers. MCI also intends to take its managed firewall service down market and offer it to small and midsize businesses, in addition to its existing base of large enterprise customers.

All of the new services and enhancements will be available in May.

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