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Singapore’s ViewQwest debuts security service

ViewQwest’s SecureNet service uses Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation firewall with deep packet inspection capabilities to guard against cyber threats

Singapore-based telco ViewQwest has unveiled a new software-defined network security service to help businesses better guard against cyber attacks that have intensified amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dubbed SecureNet, the service makes use of Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation firewall, eliminating the need for hardware appliances that enterprises typically install whenever they set up a new branch office.

ViewQwest claimed that SecureNet can protect businesses against up to 95% of cyber threats without compromising network performance. The service leverages Singapore’s nationwide fibre network infrastructure rather than private leased lines and MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) connections.

“All the connectivity that we provide for customers terminates through routers, and what we’ve done is to replace the traditional router infrastructure with a security stack that we’ve built with Palo Alto Networks,” said ViewQwest CEO Vignesa Moorthy.

“Using deep packet inspection, we can inspect all the traffic that goes in and out of our customers’ networks and apply mitigation methodologies against malware and exploits that are known to us,” he told Computer Weekly, adding that unknown threats can also be identified using machine learning capabilities.

With more malware being encrypted by cyber criminals to avoid detection by anti-malware tools, Moorthy said the service is capable of detecting encrypted payloads too. “We examine encrypted packets, so just because a payload is encrypted doesn’t mean we can’t access it.”

The software-defined service also lets security administrators apply three security postures based on their risk appetite. The strictest posture blocks all malware and protects businesses from all types of system vulnerabilities.

“All the customer has to do is to log in to the customer portal and switch between those postures, which will be immediately applied across their infrastructure without their involvement,” Moorthy said.

SecureNet will be available to enterprises as a bespoke service where specific requirements including different types of threat protection can be catered to, at prices starting from about S$1,000 per month, according to Moorthy.

ViewQwest said a number of enterprises in Singapore are currently in various stages of rolling out SecureNet throughout their branch and office networks.

NTUC Enterprise, a social enterprise with a diverse range of businesses including retail, childcare and education, recently implemented SecureNet, replacing its legacy hub-and-spoke network that could not secure internal traffic between branches.

Ian Loe, its chief technology officer, said: “With the exponential increase in bandwidth at the edge and the constantly evolving cyber security threats, we needed to have a dramatic shift in the way we look at IT. Security can no longer be an afterthought but must be built into the very heart of our IT plumbing”.

With SecureNet, NTUC Enterprise has connected its school campuses and food courts to a cyber security core that can be managed from a single dashboard without the need to set up firewalls at the edge.

“We used to manage the network security of our branches in silos. Now with the network connected to a security core, we can manage the entire IT system from a single pane of glass,” Loe said, adding that IT teams can now spend more time on higher value work such as analysing network patterns and implementing new security strategies.

According to IDC, security services will be the largest and fastest-growing segment of Asia-Pacific’s cyber security market by 2023, thanks to the rising use of managed services to fend off and respond to cyber attacks.

As for technology segments, IDC singled out network security as a key area that enterprises are spending more on, led by unified threat management and firewall technologies which will account for 80% of network security spending.

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