Four carriers create global cyber security alliance

Etisalat, Singtel, SoftBank and Telefónica have partnered to create a global cyber security alliance which will see members share cyber risk intelligence and security capabilities in order to protect clients.

The agreement will see the international telcos create what they are calling the first Global Telco Security Alliance, which will offer enterprise customers a portfolio of cyber security services.

When combined, the operators have a base including more than 1.2 billion customers across 60 countries and operate 22 world-class Security Operation Centres (SOCs) which employ over 6,000 cyber security experts.

Though the alliance only includes four members at launch, it said it would open up to bringing in new members in the future, although no roadmap for this was shared.

Francisco Salcedo, SVP at Etisalat Digital said: “With digital technologies gaining widespread adoption and driving innovation across industry verticals, the security landscape has evolved. Organizations now face a new breed of threats and need to manage digital risks in their environments. Today’s strategic alliance will give us a unique opportunity to work hand in hand with our telecom counterparts and deliver innovative security services for digital risk management.”

Under the agreement, the group will share network intelligence on cyber threats and leverage their joint global reach, assets and cyber security capabilities to serve customers worldwide.

It comes at a time when cyber security is at the forefront of both carrier and enterprise strategies due to the growing size and scale of threats such as DDoS attacks. Last month, Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks hit a new peak with the two biggest recorded attacks to date.

In 2016, Singtel launched a new Cyber Security institute, following on from its acquisition of  Trustwave for $810 million the previous year.

“We need swift and coordinated global responses to defend enterprises that operate across transnational borders as cyber threats are increasing in frequency, scale and sophistication,” explained Art Wong (pictured), CEO of global cyber security at Singtel. 

“Singtel and its US-based subsidiary Trustwave are both well-established security leaders across the Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. The group’s resources, combined with those of its alliance partners, will provide a robust cyber security platform to protect our global customers, allowing them to thrive in the digital economy.”

The companies said they will also look at ways of co-developing new security products and technologies that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. This could include predictive analytics tools or advanced cyber security for the internet of things.

This could also involve the development of a joint roadmap which would see the alliance evolve their respective security portfolios together while exploring joint investment opportunities in new security products, services, SOCs, and start-ups.

Andrew Schwabecher, head of the cloud and cyber security division at SoftBank said, "Hackers have well-established and organized communities where they cooperate to produce cyber threats—it's time that the world's largest network of operators formed a global alliance to strengthen our defense against these attacks.”

Telefonica is one organisation that has been leading the way in cyber security through its subsidiary Elevenpaths. Last year Pedro Pablo Pérez, VP security at Telefónica and CEO of ElevenPaths, challenged the industry to collaborate more on the topic of security in order to keep the internet free and open.

 “The Security Alliance will help all its members to deliver disruptive innovation to secure our customers’ digital lives,” added Pedro Pablo Pérez. “For Telefónica, it’s a major step ahead in complementing our ability to develop as an intelligent Managed Security Service Provider and to continue to deliver outstanding growth.”

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