Web & communication software

Verizon Enhances Cloud-based Management

Verizon Business on Wednesday gave customers of its Private IP services new options for managing and securing their networks with cloud-based tools.

The company expanded the reach of a SaaS (software as a service) network monitoring product and brought a network-based firewall into line with the management interface for firewalls at customers' sites. The set of announcements at the Interop trade show in Las Vegas also included an enterprise-wide security assessment service.

Private IP is a WAN (wide-area network) service that runs on a global Verizon network that is separate from the Internet. Enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses use Private IP to connect corporate facilities, partners and customers. As more organizations reach out toward private and public cloud computing, Verizon is enhancing software it has been providing from inside a network cloud for some time.

On Wednesday, Verizon introduced Asset Assurance, a network monitoring and troubleshooting product with only one component to be installed on the customer's premises. Asset Assurance is based on CA Spectrum Infrastructure Manager and can include device monitoring, alarms, fault isolation, service-level reporting and other elements to help track down and solve network problems.

The product evolved out of WAN Analysis, a free SaaS monitoring tool Verizon and CA have been selling for about four years, said Kimberly Bennett, product manager for application-aware services at Verizon Business. Following customer requests, Verizon extended the technology to look into the customer's own LAN and even monitor the health of their servers' network connections, Bennett said. The one part of Asset Assurance that resides on the customer's network is a piece of software that discovers devices on that network.

Because Asset Assurance is available mostly as SaaS, IT administrators don't have to buy, install, maintain, or even learn about network management software to have these capabilities, according to Verizon. They can buy each Asset Assurance capability a la carte. The services are available with Private IP Layer 2 and Layer 3 network services in standard, enhanced and premium packages, tailored to different customers' needs. Prices start at US$332 per month for managing 25 devices. The product can be ordered now and delivered by next week.

Verizon also took one more step toward ease of use in its Secure Gateway network-based firewall. Customers previously had to use a Web-based interface to define and modify their policies in Secure Gateway for handling Internet traffic. Those who had their own firewall hardware on site used proprietary management software from Verizon called Online Guardian.

Secure Gateway is now available as a fully managed service, in which Verizon security experts help customers set their firewall policies. Meanwhile, Verizon has extended Online Guardian to manage Secure Gateway, so administrators who use on-site hardware and the network-based firewall can easily maintain the same policies, said Jonathan Nguyen, director of global security solutions. Secure Gateway costs $1,000 to start and about $500 to $1,100 per month.

Also on Wednesday, Verizon introduced the Internet Security Assessment service, which can probe an organization's network and the devices on it and identify vulnerabilities, Nguyen said. Among other things, the assessment can discover how the network is being used, what kinds of traffic are traveling over it, and whether any of the company's systems are tied into botnets. Verizon recommends customers get an Internet Security Assessment quarterly.

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