For mid-sized enterprises to win the cybersecurity race, the game needs to change

August 1, 2019 | Roger Thornton

Why does AT&T Cybersecurity get me so excited on behalf of the mid-sized enterprises that make up the bulk of business around the globe? Well, one example I like to share is from a bicycle manufacturer I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago. As a cycling enthusiast myself, I know these manufacturers are true experts, with deep knowledge and passion for the businesses they run and technology they develop. Unsurprisingly, they were dismayed about the need to also become experts in cybersecurity.

Even if they were experts, it still might not help. Could they really afford to follow the security blueprint defined by global banks and other elite security teams? According to a Deloitte survey, large enterprises spend thousands per employee and up to hundreds of millions of dollars per annum on cybersecurity, often deploying dozens or even hundreds of expensive and sophisticated security solutions along the way.

For our bike manufacturer, it’s impossible to wade through all of the solutions on offer from the thousands of cybersecurity vendors out there. Their business is at risk through no fault of their own and the “solution” to mitigating that risk is beyond reasonable allocation of resources.

Mind you, it’s not just the bicycle company in this race. There’s the contract manufacturer that actually assembles the bikes, the advertising agency that promotes them, the distributors that get them into stores and perhaps 20 other major partners and subcontractors who support the core business. And this is just one major bicycle brand! There are millions of other mid-sized enterprises around the globe with the exact same problem. Every business, including the Fortune 500, would relish the opportunity to be more efficient in cybersecurity and to put more money back into the business. But for mid-sized companies, who don’t have the same resources to protect themselves, it’s a matter of survival.

Our bicycle brand should be focused on engineering the perfect machine to break a 36mph Tour de France stage speed, not on cybersecurity. This shouldn’t be something that soaks up resources and diverts attention from the core business. That’s precisely why AlienVault automated threat detection and streamlined response, and why we continue to focus on making security more accessible as AT&T Cybersecurity. 

What gets me excited for customers like the bicycle manufacturer is the ability to do all that and more, on a much grander scale, because of what AT&T brings to the table. With a core mission of connecting people where they live and work for more than 140 years, security is in AT&T’s DNA. Ever since there was something of value carried over a network, AT&T has been a leader—including what is now called cybersecurity. Serving more than 3 million companies globally from the smallest business to nearly all the Fortune 1000 has given AT&T unrivaled visibility into the threats and needs of business customers. And as a trusted advisor that provides countless integrated business solutions around the globe, AT&T has assembled a broad portfolio of nearly all of the leading security vendors to help in the mission.

We now have the opportunity to integrate AT&T’s unparalleled threat intelligence, AlienVault’s proven strengths in automation, and the world’s best cybersecurity solutions into one unified platform that eliminates cost and complexity for millions of companies both large and small. The bicycle manufacturer can choose to use the platform to manage security themselves, outsource the work completely, or utilize a collaborative model that utilizes collective expertise and capabilities. This is enabled through the AT&T consulting and managed services teams or through our many managed security service providers (MSSP).

The ingredients are in place to completely transform cybersecurity. AT&T Cybersecurity’s integrated solutions will be automated, cost-effective, and viewable through a single pane of glass, so that companies no longer have to throw all their financial and human resources at cybersecurity.

And that, in turn, is going to let these mid-sized enterprises (and their large-size counterparts) get back to what they do best—keeping the wheels turning in their own businesses. 

Roger Thornton

About the Author: Roger Thornton

Roger Thornton, VP Products & Technology, AT&T Cybersecurity, has more than 25 years of experience in the computer and network security industry. He has driven the formation and growth of dozens of new companies including Fortify Software and hundreds of products, serving in a wide range of roles from engineering, marketing, and management, to investor/advisor. Roger earned his BS and MS degrees in Engineering with honors at San Jose State University.

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