Protection 1’s Managed Services Push Underscores Critical Need for Data Security
Protection 1 provides security-only networking infrastructure for corporate end users to safeguard sensitive data from cyber breaches.
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In its pursuit to market a portfolio of managed services to corporate end users, Protection 1 is capturing market share by positioning itself as a trusted provider of networking and data security.
At the core of the company’s offering is the ability to deploy network solutions that are physically separate from the end user’s IT infrastructure, thereby safeguarding customer data by keeping it separate from other functions. For example, in some projects security devices are prohibited from sharing the network with POS systems.
P1 considers managed services as a whole the next frontier in security services, explains Les Paul Vernon, the company’s vice president of enterprise solutions.
“Managed services now gives us the opportunity to offer enterprise-level services in-house and organic to Protection 1. We have done this through the stand up of a network operation center,” he says. “This NOC monitors, with P1 employees, our customers’ networks, end-network devices, as well as applications that are specific to the security industry.”
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Following a pilot period, the Newark, Del.-based NOC officially launched about two years ago. It is staffed by Cisco-, Meraki- and Sonicwall-certified team members capable of not only real-time monitoring of IT-sensitive systems, but of designing, installing LAN/WAN networks for end users. P1 manages and monitors more than 20,000 end devices across 750 networks and more than 18 customer brands in North America, Latin America, South America and Hawaii, Vernon says.
In addition to deploying and commissioning security-only networks, P1 can alert its clients if there is an attempted breach or the potential for failure of any device on the network. The company also manages all the software updates, particularly as it relates to anti-virus protection.
The lingo “security-only network” was derived for the sake of simplicity, says Vernon, who prior to joining P1 was founder, CEO and president of Suntera Security, the IT-centric systems integration firm that P1 acquired in 2012. He favors a bit more detailed description: infrastructure that is separate from an enterprise’s core network, allowing for ancillary services to reside on that network, such as intrusion detection, fire/life safety, video surveillance, HVAC and building automation.
“We manage that network infrastructure in a secure manner through [Open Systems Interconnect or OSI] Layers 3 through 7; it is all handled and maintained, including encryption, through our support,” he says.
One market niche where P1 is finding success with its managed services offering is retail. High-profile security breaches are prompting companies to physically separate their IT infrastructure to limit exposure, explains Jay Linton, who spearheads P1’s sales component to luxury-branded retailers in North America. Other common factors for physical separation of IT systems include higher bandwidth availability and speed, access to the network for loss prevention teams while not impacting business critical systems.
“The benefits of high definition video are great, but the bandwidth requirements can scare many IT directors,” Linton says. “By implementing a private network, our clients can have Protection 1 become the IT support team. It removes or complements their internal IT team from the equation and benefits the asset protection team by not having to share bandwidth.”
Back around 2005 when manufacturers began pumping network-enabled products and technologies into the market, Vernon says, no dealer base existed to apply successful implementation if IP security devices on enterprise networks.
The market has finally matured enough to seize the benefits of IP-enabled technology, and installing security contractors are especially well positioned to take advantage of burgeoning opportunities. Who better to deploy a solution built around sensors? Here, Vernon invokes the Internet of Things, which lends itself to every end device being a sensor or a node on a network that comes back to a central repository. This allows companies to leverage Big Data to drive business intelligence.
But dealers and integrators beware: Products are still being rushed to market that are not necessarily well secured from a software or hardware perspective, Vernon says.
“Those vulnerabilities only become exacerbated when they are integrated into an enterprise data network,” he says. “We have seen this in the news over and over where a third-party service provider – even a low-voltage provider in the security industry – can cause undue risk to an end user’s network that is then exposed to hacking, be it an internal or external force.”
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