Telstra wants to give Australia's SMBs access to enterprise-grade security

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Telstra wants to give Australia's SMBs access to enterprise-grade security

Cybersecurity might not be the first service that comes to mind when you think Telstra but the carrier is investing heavily to change that.

Speaking at Telstra Vantage in Melbourne last week, security director Neil Campbell let CRN in on some of Telstra's recent security investments, including expansion into new markets and an upgrade to its Canberra operations centre.

Telstra could soon look to broaden its managed security offerings into the small business market, Campbell hinted, following an expansion into the midmarket. He described the potential for telco to offer enterprise-grade security to SMBs and eventually consumer with a turnkey solution delivered over Telstra's network.

"If we get that right, then that will take the single biggest step this country has ever taken toward inoculating society against the vast majority of cyber threats," he told CRN.

"There's a quantum of difference in the pricing you can deliver into a market like that, which means you're democratising managed security services because it's no longer the domain of large enterprise or government, it's accessible to smaller organisations who are on the cusp where they're not quite big enough to be an enterprise with all the security professionals with all the capability that involves."

Campbell joined Telstra in June 2016 to help spin out the managed security practice into its own discipline. He previously worked as Dimension Data Australia's security lead.

Telstra's managed security business has operated for several years, but the company has ramped up the business with some major announcements, such as hiring former AusCERT general manager Thomas King  in January to lead the managed security division.

One of the biggest moves was the opening of the two Security Operations Centres (SOC) in Sydney and Melbourne last month. The centres are located within Telstra's state head offices and provide 24/7 monitoring and data analysis to the telco's enterprise customers.

[Photos: Inside Telstra's Sydney security centre]

Telstra built its managed services and applications in the SOCs on an open source Apache Metron big data security framework, which utilises technology from Melbourne-based application developer Readify and New Zealand-based cybersecurity analytics firm Cognevo, two companies Telstra acquired last year.

The facilities are built to ASIO T4 protective security standard, primarily to satisfy enterprise customers.

Government clients are managed from Telstra new Canberra SOC, which was established in 2009 to support government customers, and is being retrofitted to include the same technology platform as in the Sydney and Melbourne centres.

At Telstra Vantage, Telstra revealed that it worked with betting agency Tabcorp to refocus the managed security business from out-of-the-box security solutions to a customer-facing services practice. Customers now have direct communication with the 40 new security analysts staffed within the centres.

Campbell said Telstra would be able to capitalise on recent laws passed by the federal government that require businesses with more than $5 million per annum in revenue to report security breaches involving personal information to the privacy commissioner.

"[Businesses] can kind of be in an awkward spot, so if we can give the visibility they need to operate security better than we're bringing something to them they've never been able to access before," Campbell said.

The journalist travelled to Telstra Vantage as a guest of Telstra.

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