Automation key to CSP, vendor success in managed security services sector: Report

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Nov 17, 2021

  • The security services sector is being turned on its head
  • CSPs and vendors have a real chance to grab a slice of a near $18 billion pie
  • ‘Security automation’ a ‘high-growth opportunity,’ finds Appledore Research team

The security services sector is being “completely upended” by changes in technology and market structure and that, in turn, is creating a “large and high-growth opportunity for telcos and suppliers of innovative automated security solutions,” according to the team at Appledore Research. 

According to Appledore, the greater shift to cloud-oriented operations, the increasing role of the public cloud and the trend towards decentralization, and the “expanded ecosystems” driven by IoT/industrial IoT means enterprise security services can no longer be provided using manual processes and siloed approaches: Instead, increasingly automated and end-to-end processes need to be enabled and communications service providers (CSPs) and virtual/cloud native function (VNF/CNF) vendors and developers have a real chance to capitalize on this trend.

The research firm estimates that the market for managed security services will be worth $17.9 billion by 2026, and that by then, following years of triple-digit growth (150% CAGR from 2021-2026) the value of the ‘security automation’ part of that overall market will be worth $9.5 billion.

As the chart above shows, the Appledore team expects that security automation sector to offer up business opportunities to vendors of virtualized security functions and network automation software worth $4.7 billion come 2026. 

(And of course, the topic of automation is hot right now... check out the sessions in the TelecomTV AI & Automation Summit that became available on-demand today...) 

One of the vendors assessed by the Appledore team in its report is Nokia, which just so happens to have announced today that is stepping up its efforts to offer multiple applications via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, with security one of the key focus areas for the vendor in that regard: “With 5G opening up many new cyber security risks due to more access points in networks, CSPs require automated security that greatly shrinks threat dwell time (the time it takes to remove a cyber attacker once detected); reduces manual tasks; and shortens response time in order to keep 5G consumer and enterprise services safe.” The vendor will be making its SaaS-based NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome, which “enables CSPs to assure 5G networks and monetize security tied with services like 5G slicing,” in early 2022. 

And from the CSP perspective, BT (one of the CSPs highlighted by Appledore) has long been headed down this route with its managed security services for global enterprises and recently announced Eagle-i, which uses AI and automation not only to detect and neutralise security threats and attacks, but also to predict them: Notably – and this has long been the view of security experts at BT, a combination of automated processes and human intervention for nuanced evaluation is still the optimum approach, rather than a shift to complete ‘zero touch’ processes. 

According to the operator, it “combines BT’s industry-leading network insight with advances in AI and automation to predict, detect and neutralise security threats before they get a chance to inflict damage. The platform has been designed to self-learn from the intelligence provided by each intervention, so that it constantly improves its threat knowledge and dynamically refines how it protects customers across a multi-cloud environment... By blending human oversight with real-time monitoring and automated decision-making, we can proactively detect anomalies and update your protections against next generation threats.” (See BT spies new cyber opportunities with ‘Eagle-i’ platform.)

This is the result of years of development at BT – such services and skills can’t be amassed overnight, so this is yet another area where CSPs would need to act now in order to be able to seize a slice of the action. But that requires a shift in attitude: As the Appledore team notes, “the telecom industry must think differently and build automation into the core of new service thinking.” 

To find out more, check out this Appledore blog.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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