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WHITEPAPER: Revolution not Evolution. Revolution not Evolution. How Managed Services Changed Internet Security Forever


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Revolution not Evolution

How Managed Services Changed Internet Security



APER: Revolution no

t E


Revolution not Evolution

White Paper: Revolution not Evolution


Introduction: A Model of Innovation . . . .1

First Steps . . . .. . . . . . .1

In Danger...then Game Changer . . . 2

Just another commodity . . . . . . 3



Introduction: A Model of Innovation

Server rooms crammed with hardware… laborious, machine-by-machine installation of licensed software… the frustration of permanently engaged helpdesk hotlines…

Old-school corporate IT wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t cost-effective. And when it came to

safeguarding businesses from viruses, spam and other potentially profit-draining internet-borne threats, it was frighteningly fallible.

But what if businesses could dispense with the headache and hassle of meeting every IT need in-house, and without the risks of traditional outsourcing? What if they could access what they wanted via the internet, subscribing to services with the infrastructure and expertise to manage and monitor everything remotely on their behalf?

A new concept was born. Managed, or hosted, services had arrived and their innovative ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) delivery model became the outrider of a wider ‘cloud’ computing revolution. The impact was felt across the world of IT, but especially in the internet security space.

And so internet security began its process of transformation into a service you simply plug into, like electricity – with a profusion of providers emerging to fight for your business, yet all essentially delivering exactly the same ‘product’. Right? Wrong. This white paper describes how managed internet security services developed into a solution that can meet the needs of every type and size of organisation. But it also explodes the fallacy that this has evolved into a market of ‘identikit’ products. And it explains how, in a field so fundamental to the well-being of your business, it pays to know exactly what you’re buying.


“Computation may someday be organised as a public utility.” John McCarthy, computer scientist (1960)

First Steps

Back in the 1960s, visionaries like John McCarthy and Douglas Parkhill (in his book ‘The Challenge of the Computer Utility’) foresaw an age when computing would be provided by organisations similar to electricity companies. And although they didn’t get it absolutely right (as we’ll see), they certainly saw beyond the confines of an era when computing was still in its infancy, and understood that the march of technology would one day change the whole basis of IT provision.

Managed IT services took their first tentative steps in the 1980s. In essence, they mimicked the model pioneered by public utilities decades previously – utilities that enabled

customers to meet their water, electricity and telephony needs simply by turning on a tap, flicking a switch or picking up a phone. But although the early IT offerings, provided by players already active in the telecommunications market, helped large-scale enterprises outsource their networks, they weren’t geared to meeting the needs of smaller businesses.



White Paper: Revolution not Evolution

A new breed of smaller providers duly emerged in the 1990s with the express aim of creating utilitarian services equally useful to all organisations from global enterprises to small start-ups. Their philosophy was simple: harness the gathering strength of the internet to bring enterprise-grade technology (backed by high-class expertise) within easy reach of smaller organisations, which would benefit by hacking back the crippling cost of maintaining in-house IT infrastructure.

Early pioneers included Star, a UK-based company at the vanguard of virgin commercial territory: internet-level spam and virus scanning of business email. Within four years of its foundation in 1995, Star had established messaging and web security specialist MessageLabs1 to take the vision forward. And as the 1990s rolled on, SaaS providers such

as www.productbank.com (launched in 1997) and SiteEasy (1998) appeared across the IT spectrum.

By the turn of the millennium this radical delivery model was making waves. Some critics dismissed it as a lunatic fringe phenomenon. Others were equally swift to herald it as computing’s future.


“Customer attitudes have changed and enabling technologies have advanced to make managed services more timely and


Al Safarikas, Cisco (2008)

In Danger…then Game Changer

Today, many businesses would find it hard to imagine a world without the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness that managed IT services offer. But initially SaaS struggled to gain traction as early vendors contended with two key barriers.

The first was perception. In the 90’s, potential customers may have understood the economic sense of tapping into offerings that leveraged economies of scale to provide solutions otherwise beyond the reach of most businesses. Understandably, though, many were reluctant to lead the way, concerned about ‘loss of control’ and the implications for data integrity and security. The second barrier was the offerings themselves. Most were aligned to a single-tenancy application service provider (ASP) model – a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, seriously out of step with the specific needs of individual businesses.

With early providers also often financially flaky, the dot-com crash of 2000 blew many away. But for those surviving the storm, the tide turned as the need to drive costs down and efficiency up grew paramount for more organisations.



Managers from backroom boys into business enablers. And as more SMBs and enterprises subscribed, big IT vendors who once ridiculed the concept rushed to develop offerings of their own.

Today, the basic model embraces not just SaaS but also Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and a host of core business applications. More and more customers are discovering the huge contribution it can make – and how it can tick all the right boxes, from minimising costs and security risks to maximising business agility.


“Commodity (noun): an article of trade or commerce, espe-cially a product as distinguished from a service.”

dictionary.reference.com (2011)

Just Another Commodity?

The impact of this revolution has been felt across business. But, even as offerings have strengthened and become widely deployed, has one by-product been the commoditisation of internet security? Indeed, has the widespread adoption of cloud-based services

actually led to the services themselves becoming commoditised, with one more or less interchangeable with another and all delivering basically the same product – much as electricity suppliers do?

Although arguably the case in some areas of IT, it patently isn’t so where internet security is concerned. Internet security is a multi-dimensional entity that continually needs to grow and evolve to overpower threats whose complexity continually grows and evolves too. And it fundamentally hinges on relentless commitment to – and investment in – the maintenance of sophisticated capabilities that stay a step ahead of these ever-mutating threats. Such is the potency of the cyber-criminals pulling the strings of today’s internet-borne attacks, the challenge of outwitting them gets more severe every hour.

The defence industry provides an excellent parallel. This is another area characterised by a never-ending spiral of invention, counter-invention and counter-counter-invention as technological progress and human ingenuity spawn imaginative new weapons then develop equally imaginative ways of blunting them – stimulating the need for even ‘better’ weapons. The cycle is unbreakable – just as it is in the ‘warzone’ of internet security. The inevitable corollary is that all managed internet security vendors simply aren’t capable of performing at the same level as each other. Stemming today’s torrent of spam or the flood of malware targeting networks and confidential data just isn’t that easy. In this ultra-challenging field, the highest level of specialism is a pre-requisite for optimum performance.

Moreover, this is a field where even small margins really matter. The difference between 99.5% and 100% service uptime may not sound much. But it equates to over a day’s extra vulnerability per year – a chasm in your defences that cyber-criminals could exploit, with business-compromising consequences; something you can’t afford to risk.


White Paper: Revolution not Evolution


The Checklist Challenge

So if internet security isn’t a commodity, and if providers of managed internet security services aren’t all evenly matched, how can you identify the one best suited to your needs?

Fundamentally, there are seven key criteria against which vendors need to be judged, as summarised in the checklist below.

Criterion Key Question

SLAs What level of service availability, malware detection, spam

blocking, etc will the vendor commit to delivering?

Know-How What depth and breadth of expertise can the vendor

demonstrate in the field of internet security?

Experience Does the vendor have a long and proven pedigree in the

internet security space?


Can the vendor demonstrate the necessary global perspective on internet threats, their origins and their convergence?

Technology Does the vendor deploy cutting-edge scanning and threat

detection technologies?

Infrastructure Is the vendor equipped with strategically located,

state-of-the-art infrastructure?

Cost-effective Does the vendor’s service genuinely offer low total cost of


Internet Security Managed Services: Vendor Checklist

In meeting the checklist challenge, one managed service provider stands out from the crowd. Symantec.cloud, whose proprietary technology underpins an unmatched ability to detect and defuse internet-borne threats. Harnessing leading-edge global infrastructure and incorporating industry leading Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Symantec.cloud’s email, web and IM offerings deliver complete, converged protection from an organisation focused purely on IT security and data management.

The managed services revolution meant internet security would never be the same again. Symantec.cloud ‘s mission is to ensure it stays that way.


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Tel +32 2 257 13 00 Fax +32 2 257 13 01


administer, monitor and protect their information resources more effectively. Organisations can choose from 14 pre-integrated applications to help secure and manage their business even as new technologies and devices are introduced and traditional boundaries of the workplace disappear. Services are delivered on a highly scalable, reliable and energy-efficient global infrastructure built on 14 data centers around the globe. A division within Symantec Corporation, Symantec.cloud offers customers the ability to work more productively in a connected world.

For specific country offices and contact numbers, please visit our website:


World Headquarters MessageLabs

1270 Lansdowne Court Gloucester Business Park Gloucester, GL3 4AB United Kingdom +44 (0) 1452 627 627

Copyright © 2011 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec and the Symantec Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. 2/2011 21167338


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