Nokia to Launch Network Security Unit

The move comes as some vendors, like Cisco, bulk up their security capabilities, while others, like Alcatel-Lucent, sell their security groups.


Nokia Solutions and Networks next week will launch a new business unit whose job will be to focus on the issue of security around its telecommunications networking business.

The new Security Unit will get underway June 1 and will ensure that new products coming from the company will include integrated security, according to Nokia officials. The group also will be responsible for growing the company's portfolio of security products and services and for creating business models around security for telecoms.

As such trends as cloud computing, mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the Internet of things continue to expand, most networking vendors are putting a greater emphasis on security. Cisco Systems is spending billions of dollars to grow its security capabilities, most recently announcing the planned acquisition of malware analysis vendor ThreatGrid, the third purchase this year by Cisco of a security company. ThreatGrid's technology will complement the capabilities Cisco inherited with its $2.7 billion acquisition of SourceFire last year.

At the same time, security was a key focus during Cisco's recent Cisco Live 2014 event, where the networking vendor also unveiled enhancements to its Advanced Malware Protection products and firewall technologies.

Other vendors, like Palo Alto Networks, also are broadening their network security portfolios.

For Nokia, the new business group—which will be part of the vendor's Mobile Broadband unit—will not only mean more of its own security products and capabilities, but also will enable the company to expand its roster of security partners, according to Marc Rouanne, executive vice president of mobile broadband at Nokia.

"The new Security unit will bring together security experts and talent from across the company—customer operations, global services and technology and innovation teams, for example—with the aim of tackling the full set of requirements for robust telco security," Rouanne said in a statement. "We will continue to encourage industry dialogue and knowledge sharing in terms of security research to improve awareness of this crucially important area of telco business, including with open-source software. This will become critically important as mobile broadband networks are starting to evolve towards the cloud."

Nokia already has made moves to strengthen its security credentials in the telecommunications arena. The company recently donated a lot of money and became the first Platinum sponsor of the OpenSSL Project, which deals with a range of vulnerabilities and exploits, such as Heartbleed. In addition, in March the company said it was launching a Mobile Broadband Security Center in Berlin, Germany, that can be used by customers, businesses, research partners and public officials.

According to a Nokia survey, 75 percent of mobile customers say security should be the operator's responsibility, and many of them said they would switch operators over security issues and would pay extra for reliable security.

Nokia's May 27 announcement came less than a week after rival Alcatel-Lucent announced it was selling its network security unit to Thales. Alcatel-Lucent will partner with Thales to offer network security to its customers, and also will be able to focus more on its cyber-security efforts. The sale is part of the company's larger Shift restructuring plan, an effort to narrow its focus and reduce expenses—including cutting 10,000 jobs—in hopes of saving $1.36 billion in costs by 2015.

"This strategic partnership with Thales illustrates Alcatel Lucent's strategy to reposition itself as a specialist in IP networks, cloud technologies and secured ultra broadband access," Alcatel-Lucent Michael Combes said in a statement May 22. "Cyber-security is of strategic concern to our customers, and to networks in general. By partnering with Thales for related services, we will be able to offer a comprehensive world-class expertise in network security."

In addition, reports in April speculated that Juniper Networks was considering selling its Junos Pulse mobile security business as part of an effort to streamline the company. The Junos Pulse platform enables enterprises and smaller businesses to offer secure mobile and remote network access via a simple end-user interface. Juniper officials did not comment on the reports when they surfaced.

Juniper has been under pressure from large shareholders to reduce expenses, including laying off 6 percent of the workforce. CEO Shaygan Kheradpir in April outlined a plan to restructure the company's operations and return $3 billion to investors.