For connectivity, AT&T said its FlexWare platform is now cloud-ready and allows for a more direct – and secure – connection into AWS. FlexWare is AT&T’s virtual network function (VNF) management platform that taps into its Integrated Cloud (AIC) for service orchestration.
Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer for AT&T Business, said at this week’s AT&T Business Summit that the FlexWare update would allow for a more secure connection for organizations that are using the AWS Cloud, as well as for edge computing.
For enterprise mobile connections, AT&T’s Private Mobile Connect allows AWS customers to tap into the carrier’s NetBond for Cloud platform. This routes that traffic through a private Internet connection instead of the public Internet.
Pacewicz said a mobile connection first traverses AT&T’s mobile network, which includes security protocols inherent in cellular connections. Once that traffic hits the closest radio access network (RAN), it’s directed to a NetBond connection where it travels over that private connection into the AWS cloud.
“That data traffic never touches the shared backbone,” Pacewicz explained. “It comes off the RAN and then goes into the NetBond service.”
Threat Manager and IoT
AT&T also unveiled its Threat Manager product that allows AWS customers to proactively identify data patterns and threat activity. Pacewicz said the product has the ability to process 5 billion security events in 10 minutes, with analysis occurring in near real-time.
Pacewicz described the Threat Management product as an artificial intelligence-based engine that looks at AT&T data. “We have a lot of data traffic, and the ability to see threats that traverse our network puts us in a good spot to detect issues,” he said.
However, Pacewicz did note that Threat Management was not directly tied into AT&T’s recent Acumos open source artificial intelligence (AI) platform launch.
AT&T and AWS are also working to integrate AWS’ IoT-centric Greengrass software with FlexWare to boost IoT development. The move will support IoT business cases that require edge computing.
AWS introduced Greengrass in June as a way to help edge devices process data and communicate with the AWS cloud. Greengrass allows customers to use AWS’ serverless computing Lambda platform to run code locally on connected devices, similar to how they do it using AWS Cloud.
AT&T also launched a consulting service in a nod to the growing challenges IT departments are encountering when it comes to selecting a cloud platform. It also includes an option for AT&T to facilitate the movement of data into a cloud environment.
Pacewicz said AT&T did not view the service as a competitor to other system integrators, and that it would take into account different cloud models regardless of vendor.
“It’s really about doing what’s right for the organization,” Pacewicz explained.
AT&T in June added support for more than 100 cloud software and service providers hosted on AWS. In return, AWS software providers are able to join the AT&T provider program. This allows the software providers to add the AT&T platform as a connectivity option when used with the new bundle.
Security was a main talking point from many AT&T executives at the Business Summit event. Pacewicz said security is most often the No. 1 issue for business customers.
However, he explained that security has garnered a lot of focus from cloud providers, which has led to an almost level playing field between public cloud deployments that adhere to the most stringent of standards and private data centers.
“I would say that a lot of the initial concern was from issues that happened more than five years ago,”Pacewicz said. “But cloud providers like AWS have really tightened their security protocols to the point now where they are nearly almost like that of a private data center.”
Pacewicz admitted that the AT&T solution, or any for that matter, is not 100 percent fool proof from a coordinated security attack. But, cloud security is to the point now where organization’s should be open to making the move.
“Security is really a big data issue,” Pacewicz explained. “Collecting data, having analytics, and AI can allow a network to decipher what kind of behavior is normal or not normal… Trying to wall off perimeters is not really the answer. You need to have an intelligent network that can figure out on its own what should be happening, and what should not be happening on a network and take action in an automated fashion.”