Managing the web

As frustration grows with point solutions for handling security and as access technologies become widely used, regional enterprises will turn to managed services to secure internet transactions according to a leading solutions provider.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  July 19, 2007

The Middle East market is fast tiring and getting increasingly frustrated with deploying point solutions for handling security concerns. As access technologies improve and people demand connectivity through additional devices, it is necessary for businesses to ensure end-to-end security which cannot be achieved by single solutions alone, according to Neil Batstone, regional GM for VeriSign.

"A piece of software or hardware can resolve only certain parts of the puzzle. They do not necessarily look at or handle the bigger picture in security. They are not really able to respond to the change in the way that businesses are being conducted and protect them against evolving threats," says Batstone.

"Our approach however is different. We are a service provider and not a vendor of solutions. We emphasise on long terms relationships with our customers and our partners alike, globally and in the Middle East region. Our offering of Layered Security Solution enables us to provide cumulative security to our customers, across their transactions on the internet and ensures that we can add value as we grow together in the relationship," adds Batstone.

Layered Security Solution is a portfolio of consulting and managed services that offers transaction security to businesses. Customers can pick and choose among service options to manage and monitor security during interactions on the internet. The portfolio encompasses protecting a company's consumers, its website, network and actual transactions. The initiative was launched by VeriSign during the RSA Conference earlier this year.

"Let's take a typical transaction with a bank's website. There is a component where you would nee to verify the identities of both parties involved - the consumer at one end and the bank's server. During the transaction the customer would need to key in his username and password. There should be an external verification process within that. For example, this particular person logs in usually at this time of the day, from this computer and does these particular transactions. If behaviour differs from this routine, then there would be an additional step for validation. Once that is done, the transaction can be carried through.

In terms of validation there is one time passwords and PKI certification on the client's side and it can be SSL certification on the web server's side. In terms of protection, the customer can use VeriSign's fraud detection system and other such services. So there are various technology touch points where VeriSign can provide the appropriate protection in this transaction," elaborates Batstone.

According to Batstone, many customers, especially from the banking sector, have engaged VeriSign to provide services that cover managing security at the perimeter, integrity using certificates and also monitoring transactions for potential frauds.

"People have been reluctant to hand over the keys to the kingdom of security. The region is used to solutions that are based on installing software, deploying hardware and managing the lot by themselves. Managed security services has not taken on due to a lack of awareness and market maturity. But, as our recent activities in Saudi Arabia has highlighted, we sense that people are ready to go the managed services route now," says Batstone. VeriSign recently announced its intention to open a managed security services centre in Saudi Arabia along with its partner, I(TS)2.

Batstone predicts that revenues from the larger EMEA region, which contributed nearly 20% of overall revenues during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal for VeriSign, will double in the next 18 to 24 months fuelled by this growing interest. He attributes several factors to the growing interest levels including increasingly complex security technologies, the lack of adequately skilled people to run, monitor and manage the solutions the problem of retaining such trained staff long term for organisations.

"The next stage of growth will be driven by the right solutions in the market place. In the broader context, it would be fuelled by buyers of technology getting more sophisticated and demanding of vendors. It mangers will need to support dynamic and fast moving businesses with limited budgets and hiring people and investing in technology that they have to throw away in four months are not going to be options. They will need to invest in layered solutions that will meet business needs now and can adapt to the business as it grows," concludes Batstone.

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