Cyxtera Technologies is a new kid on the global data center block, formed from the sale by CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) of its 57 data centers/colocation facilities to a consortium funded by BC Partners and Medina Capital. Cyxtera combines that data center footprint with four companies created by Medina Capital CEO, Manuel Medina.
The resulting company intends to use both parts of its birthright -- data center/colocation/hosting and security -- to develop differentiated services for secure hybrid cloud connections, as Cyxtera CMO Simon West explained to Light Reading Editor-at-Large Carol Wilson in a recent Q&A interview. (See Data Center Deals Not Slowing Managed Services Push.)
Telco Transformation: Tell me about the new company, how will you compete in the global data center space?
Simon West: The vision is to combine security capabilities, which run the gamut from network security access and control to network analytics, deep investigative analytics and services like fraud prevention for financial services, and provide an integrated secure infrastructure. We will integrate the security capabilities into the data center product and be able to sell to enterprises, to public sector organizations and to service providers a data center product that has an integrated layer of deep network security and well differentiated network analytics.
The plan is also to continue to sell both software products as we have done in the portfolio companies, not least so we can extend those security capabilities into customers' on-prem infrastructure as well as running it in our own data centers.
TT: Tell me about the security companies, are they targeted primarily at the financial services industry?
SW: No, that is just one of the companies -- a Miami-based company called Easy Solutions. They are a security provider that is focused on fraud prevention, so they offer a package of fraud solutions, with multi-factor authentication. They've had great success with that package and that portfolio in the financial services.
There is also a Boston-based company called Cryptzone, which is a leader in the software-defined perimeter space, providing an identity-centric, context-sensitive network access control as an alternative to the way in which we have traditionally protected enterprises through flat private networks and a border firewall.
The third company, based in the valley in California, is Catbird and they provide essentially a network visualization and segmentation product for virtualized infrastructure. So, it's a software-defined segmentation product, which sits on virtualized fabrics and allows you to segment and enforce policy on virtualized machines.
The final product is out of Dallas, and it is Brainspace, which is a machine learning platform built specifically for ingesting very large amounts of unstructured data. It came out of the discovery space but is increasingly moving into the area of investigative analytics.
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TT: Do you plan to compete in the managed security services space, or deliver security-as-a-service?
SW: We don't see ourselves competing in the MSSP space -- this is more of a platform play. Certainly we do believe there is a great need at this point for a better integration of infrastructure and network security into a core infrastructure product as opposed to these things just being piecemeal bolted on.
To some extent, the company is born on the confluence of two revolutions occurring in enterprise IT. One is the increasing hybridization and diversification of IT as hybrid architectures -- your cloud plus whatever becomes increasingly the de facto norm. The other -- and there's a cause and effect obviously -- is the somewhat belated, but very necessary in our view, transformation of how our infrastructure and business systems are protected from a security perspective -- which, we would offer, simply hasn't kept up.
IT is dynamic. It's provisioned with an API rather than with a screwdriver. It's increasingly distributed and increasingly real time. And yet for the most part, the way we are protecting this stuff is still very IT-centric and very hardware-centric, a very static model. We think that is ripe for change and we are starting to see that obviously through things like SDP (software-defined perimeter).
TT: When you talk about being a platform play, I'm not sure what that means. Explain how you see the product or service.
SW: The plan is to integrate with the data center footprint as the foundation, and to integrate some of the security offerings into those kind of core collocation and data center products. So the customers who choose to house their infrastructure with us, whether they are enterprises in colocation suites and cabinets and cages or whether they are service providers, have access to this robust set of security offerings.
All of the companies we are integrating from a security perspective have historically offered their products as software and will continue to offer these products as software, as I said, for customers who want to use them on prem or on prem as well as in data centers.
Some of these software products are -- and the goal is to have all of these software products -- also cloud native, and the customers who are using these with multiple hybrid environments including infrastructure running in the public cloud can also leverage these technologies on those environments as well.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading