Sprint's Zscaler Partnership: What's the Carrier's Enterprise Play?Sprint's Zscaler Partnership: What's the Carrier's Enterprise Play?
Sprint announced new security and mobility management products with Zscaler and Samsung, respectively, last week.
February 27, 2018
Sprint Business last week launched two IT security offerings geared at mobility and cloud. What larger trends within the company, if any, do the announcements match?
Sprint teamed up with Zscaler to offer the Secure Web Launch security platform. It also partnered with Samsung to use Knox Manage, Samsung’s enterprise mobility management product. Both solutions, in addition to Sprint Secure Private Access and Knox Configure, help businesses flexibly oversee and protect their increasingly cloud-based, mobile and distributed workloads.
Frost & Sullivan’s Michael Suby
“Sprint Secure Web delivers a solution that allows businesses to address real vulnerabilities and security challenges — so much of their network and operations tie directly to the internet,” said Mishka Dehghan, VP of product development for the carrier. “This solution offers superior protection for their locations and employees with all the benefits of the cloud for speed, flexibility and service.”
Michael Suby, Stratecast vice president of research at Frost & Sullivan explained how Sprint’s move fits into the larger security challenges enterprises face.
The broadest problem, which is not surprising news to anyone who’s been reading about cybersecurity over the last year, is that the risks are becoming more challenging.
“The threat actors are becoming more sophisticated. The cost to defend oneself against the threat actors is getting more expensive as you’re in technology and you measure in process and you measure in terms of people,” Suby said. “All of those elements are going up in price, particularly the people aspect and the process associated with making people highly effective at technology.”
The rising sophistication pairs with a shortage of security talent to create a perfect storm of increased prices for expertise.
“It’s not easy for any one company to build a staff of security personnel, train that staff, and keep that staff. It’s an expensive endeavor, and it’s challenging,” Suby said.
The first step for Sprint and other carriers and vendors is to decrease their clients’ overall technology expenditures. Many customers have gradually piled up a long list of hardware and software in a “rack ’em, stack ’em” approach.
“Companies have racked and stacked multiple pieces of technology, all with good intentions. Unfortunately, the racking and stacking has resulted in — call it a Tower of Babel,” he said.
The technologies require extra management and work from security teams to ensure that they work in harmony with one another. Zscaler’s approach tries to put an end to “rack ’em, stack ’em.” Suby says customers will be able to “declutter” their security environments by changing their overall mechanism.
“Here is a distributed cloud hosted approach that Zscaler offers, and it offers a full stack of security capabilities,” he said. “So it’s not just one or two things that you may need; it’s the complete portfolio.”
And how does this fit into Sprint’s overall strategy?If we have to place it within a trend, it could signal a move from Sprint to build its customer base. Suby says the carrier has been evolving its market strategy. The company recently launched a new initiative to build relationships with government agencies.
“What we’ve seen over time is that Sprint has consolidated its focus on customers that they’ve built, and they have quite a number,” he said. ” … But over the years that new customer acquisition mode — they’re putting greater emphasis on it.”
Security team-ups with Zscaler and Samsung help Sprint not only address IT staffing challenges but helps shore up its existing customer base.
“What you’re seeing in the relationship with Zscaler is, [Sprint] wants to build out [its] service portfolio, first and foremost, to deepen [its] relationship with existing customers. And then with that, it allows them to go pursue new customer acquisition,” Suby said.
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