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Omar Aguirre, Optenet (UK): The value of the Net starts with security

March 2008 by Marc Jacob

One of the main challenges faced today by telecoms operators is to offer value added services to their connection solutions. At present, Internet users are used to paying a fixed fee for a certain bandwidth and the service provider, through a fixed or mobile line, merely acts as a conduit. Content providers, on the other hand, buy hosting operators and transport capacity, focusing most of the value on the bandwidth of the backbone. Because of this, broadband is becoming a staple product.

Omar Aguirre, Optenet Chief Operating Officer, Optenet (UK)

The imminent convergence of fixed and mobile operators is opening up opportunities for cross-selling and integration of value services for companies. In areas such as Japan, this phenomenon is already a reality, with what is called Fixed Mobile Broadcast Convergence (FMBC). In a country where 3G accounts for over 60% of mobile phone users, operators are racing to implement systems that enable convergence between fixed line and mobile, including broadcasting and security. The findings of the consultancies are backing this up. A recent study carried out by Juniper Research found that security software for mobile devices will generate revenues of $5 billion in 2011. Content security through antivirus, antispam, antispyware and filtering will grow most, taking around 40% of the market. According to the consultancy, the need for protection against identity theft and malware and the growing dependency of users on the data stored on their handsets will ensure that security software for mobile devices will be installed on 247 million appliances over the next five years, approximately eight per cent of all devices.

With regard to malware, the increasing number of attacks on mobile phones means that their security has become a major target for 2008. According to Gartner, these devices will be at real risk of infection by the end of the year through a combination of the increased popularity of third generation terminals, rapid growth in instant mobile messaging (IMM) and convergence between operating systems.

Additionally, the proliferation of mature content on the Net demonstrates and justifies the need for protection, especially if it is children who are receiving this information. Society, businesses affected by inappropriate Internet use on devices that are increasingly widespread within corporations, and the public sector, with its responsibility to society, are all increasingly demanding more responsible use of the Internet. In short, more and more end-users are demanding solutions from their operators to make Internet use faster, cheaper, safer and more useful. Similarly, there are increasing numbers of operators that see security services as a way of fostering customer loyalty. Guaranteeing a transparent and clean network for subscribers demonstrates their commitment to corporate social responsibility, at the same time as enhancing their reputation and brand image. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to improve sales results with a more predictable revenue flow. A great deal for everyone.

Network-based security solutions are shaping up as the ideal choice for everyone who uses the Web. Users are relieved of the strain involved in maintaining desktop-based software to stop IT threats on devices. Meanwhile operators benefit for the reasons explained above and because in technical terms it is easier and cheaper to centralise a filtering service in a console than to secure each connection separately. Lastly, there are the solution providers. The benefits for them are also clear to see, as the operator becomes a form of sales channel that enables them to access millions of users around the world. We are without doubt entering a new era in the IT security software business, which until recently did not see telecommunications as a sales channel.

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